Friday, 14th July 2017 Wexford County, Ireland
On foot of a number of complaints from the public of noise nuisance from wind farms in north Wexford, Wexford Co Co commissioned RPS Engineering in early 2016 to carry out an in-depth, extensive noise survey of the sound emitting from adjacent wind farms and their wind turbines.
The wind farms included in the noise survey were;
1. Gibbet Hill, planning ref: 2009 0266 – view Gibbet report (PDF, 8.84MB)
2. Knocknalour, planning ref 2011 0504 – view Knocknalour report (PDF, 24.7MB)
3. Ballycadden, planning ref 2009 1730 – view Ballycadden report (PDF, 12.8MB)
4. Ballynancoran, planning ref 2003 3444 – view Ballynancoran report (PDF, 24.6MB)
The scope of noise survey carried out, exceeded the requirements of the DEHLG noise guidance for wind farms and the requirements of most countries with well developed wind legislation. It involved inter-alia the continuous simultaneous acoustic monitoring at 4 wind farm sites, and eventually involved 13 noise meters being simultaneously deployed. In addition to noise meters a number of rain gauges and 10 metre high wind speed masts were also utilised to gather weather data.
The extended duration of this noise survey, 8 weeks at 8 sites and over 6 months at 3 sites, and the wide extent of noise parameter measurements and meteorological parameters carried out, ensured that account was made of practically all environmental and meteorological conditions experienced at the sites during the noise survey, such as differing wind speeds, directions, air temperature and particular meteorological conditions as experienced at the sites. This included the measurement of noise during periods of winter time cold temperatures with little or no wind (temperature inversions) so as to measure the noise impact during possible worst case scenarios.
The survey required the following measurements to be carried out at the 13 measurement sites,
Audio was also recorded at each site at a number of occasions at a sufficient sampling and bit rate to allow further analysis, eg FFT and amplitude modulation.
This study also includes an assessment report for each wind farm addressing their compliance regarding noise emissions under the following headings:
The survey was carried out in accordance with best international practice and in accordance with the most up to date Institute of Acoustics guidance for noise measurements of wind turbines/wind farms. This also included the anticipated recommendations of the Institute of Acoustics guidance document on Amplitude Modulation (IOA Noise Working Group (Wind Turbine Noise) Amplitude Modulation Working Group, Final Report, A Method for Rating Amplitude Modulation in Wind Turbine Noise), which was published in August 2016, during the noise survey, and included reference measurement methodologies, instrument placement, signal analysis, etc.
All of the raw the acoustic and audio data utilised in the analysis of these reports is available to the public on request. Due to the attendant problems the public may encounter with downloading online, very large data files associated with the raw data, Wexford County Council will be making the data available via portable hard drives. So as to protect both Wexford County Council and the end user from computer viruses etc, ensure IT security and to prevent corruption of the data, Wexford Co Co will copy the raw data from the Wexford County Councils master copy on to a new portable 250 GB hard drive, which will be supplied at the purchase cost of the hard drive.
The Software to access the raw data files is available to download from the following websites:
Raw Noise Data Files
Bruel & Kjaer Measurement Partner Suite
Raw Weather Data
NRG Systems Symphonie Data Retriever Software
All of the information featured on this website and the raw data is copyright of Wexford County Council unless otherwise indicated. Wexford County Council complies with the regulations on the Re-use of Public Sector Information, and we encourage the re-use of the information that we produce.
You may re-use the information on this website and the raw data free of charge in any format. Re-use includes copying, issuing copies to the public, publishing, broadcasting and translating into other languages. It also covers non-commercial research and study.
Re-use is subject to the following conditions:
• the source and copyright must be acknowledged in cases where the information is supplied to others
• the information must be reproduced accurately and fully
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For more details on information held on our website, please contact out FOI officer.
Copies of the reports have been sent to the complainants and the wind farm operators. Wexford County Council is currently assessing the contents of the reports and following evaluation of the results Wexford County Council will issue further updates in due course.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org , Senior Executive Scientist.
Source: Wexford County Council
Sound emitted by wind turbines has been dogged by ongoing world wide reports of associated adverse health resulting from exposure due to industrial wind turbine acoustic emissions. Health effects that can be severe enough people are forced to abandoned their homes. Seeking relief, respite and to protect their health from further negative impacts due to exposure to noise pollution. The 12th International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem was held in Zurich on 18–22 of June 2017. The proceeding received multiple papers on the subject of wind turbine noise and health.
The following shares some of the papers presented.
Selected papers from the 12th International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem, Zurich, 18–22 June 2017:
“Recent progress in the field of non-auditory health effects of noise – trends and research needs” by Yvonne de Kluizenaar and Toshihito Matsui – The Netherlands and Japan
… A wealth of new research on non-auditory health effects of noise has been published over the last 3 years. …
“Health Effects of Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound from Wind Farms: Results from an Independent Collective Expertise in France” by Philippe Lepoutre, Paul Avan, Anthony Cadene, David Ecotière, Anne-Sophie Evrard, Frédérique Moati, and Esko Topilla – France
… Recent results on the physiology of cochleo-vestibular system have revealed several pathways of physiological effects mechanisms that could be activated in response to exposure to ILFN. This sensory system has a particular sensitivity to these frequencies, superior to that of other parts of the human body. Available data suggest the hypothesis that sounds of frequencies too low or levels too low to be clearly audible could have effects mediated by receptors of the cochleo-vestibular system. …
“Noise Annoyance Caused by Large Wind Turbines – A Dose-Response Relationship” by Valtteri Hongisto and David Oliva – Finland
The purpose was to determine a dose-response-relationship of large wind turbines with nominal power of 3-5 MW. A cross-sectional survey was conducted around three wind power areas in Finland. The sample involved all households within 2km from the nearest turbine. Altogether 400 households out of 753 reported the annoyance indoors. The dose-response relationship was determined between the predicted noise exposure, LAeq, outdoors and the percentage of highly annoyed by wind turbine noise indoors. The percentage of highly annoyed, %HA, was less than 3%, and relatively even below 40dB LAeq. %HA started to increase when the level exceeded 40dB. …
“Hearing Beyond the Limit: Measurement, Perception and Impact of Infrasound and Ultrasonic Noise” by Christian Koch – Germany
In our daily lives, many sources emit infrasound due to their functions or as a side effect. At the other end of the hearing frequency range, airborne ultrasound is applied in many technical and medical processes and has also increasingly moved into everyday life. There are numerous indicators that sound at these frequencies can be perceived and can influence human beings. However, the precise mechanisms of this perception are unknown at present and this lack of understanding is reflected by the unsatisfactory status of the existing regulations and standards. …
“A Review of the Human Exposure-Response to Amplitude-Modulated Wind Turbine Noise: Health Effects, Influences on Community Annoyance, Methods of Control and Mitigation” by Michael J. B. Lotinga, Richard A. Perkins, Bernard Berry, Colin J. Grimwood, and Stephen A. Stansfeld – U.K.
… The conclusions of most reviews of the research on the effects of WTN on health, including those carried out on behalf of Government agencies, confirm that annoyance is caused by WTN, and that AM appears to increase annoyance. The association of WTN with sleep disturbance appears to be considerably more complex. … All of the field studies outlined so far have focussed on the responses to time-averaged WTN exposure levels. In a study of noise emissions from 1.8 MW turbines, it was argued that noise annoyance expressed by residents at 500-1900m distances might be exacerbated by AM, increased levels and low-frequency content occurring in the late evening and night-time. These phenomena were attributed to the stable night-time atmosphere causing high wind shear, and the coincidence of AM patterns from the turbines. … On the basis of the review and studies considered above, a control for AM has been proposed for use in planning windfarm developments. This control takes as its basis the principle that AM increases annoyance caused by WTN, and that this increase can be characterised by adding a penalty value to the overall WTN level, to equalise it with subjective judgement of a negligible-AM WTN sound. The results of ref 58 suggest that fluctuation in broadband WTN-like sounds will almost certainly be sensed by most people with normal hearing at approximately 3dB ΔLAeq,100ms(BP) which forms the proposed onset for the penalty. … The possible influence of increased low-frequency content in the AM is addressed by the design of the metric used to rate the magnitude, which employs frequency filtering to ensure the signal is evaluated for the range that produces the maximum AM rating. …
“Review of Research on the Effects of Noise on Sleep Over the Last 3 Years” by Sarah McGuire and Gunn Marit Aasvang – U.S. and Norway
the new actigraphy and polysomnographic field studies are the first studies on wind turbine noise which have used objective measures of sleep, as well as a study examining the potential benefit of nighttime air-traffic curfews. Also there have been new epidemiological studies which have added to the knowledge on the effects of noise on self-reported sleep disturbance. …
“The Inadequacy of the A-Frequency Weighting for the Assessment of Adverse Effects on Human Populations” by Bruce Rapley, Mariana Alves-Pereira, and Huub Bakker – New Zealand and Portugal
“Case Report: Cross-Sensitisation to Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise” by Bruce Rapley, Huub Bakker, Mariana Alves-Pereira, and Rachel Summers – New Zealand
This Case Report describes an episode experienced by two noise-sensitised individuals during a field trip. Exposed to residential infrasound and low frequency noise due coal mining activities, the subjects reacted suddenly, strongly and unexpectedly to pressure pulses generated by a wind farm located at a different town, approximately 160km by road from their residence. Simultaneous physiological data obtained in one subject and subjective sensations occurring during the episode are reported. Acoustical evaluations of the location of the episode are also reported. The possibility of a nocebo effect as an etiological factor for their bodily reactions is cogently eliminated. …
“Evaluation of Wind Turbine Noise in Japan” by Akira Shimada and Mimi Nameki – Japan
In order to tackle with wind turbine noise (WTN) related complaints, Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ) set up an expert committee in 2013. In November 2016, the committee published a report on investigation, prediction and evaluation methods of WTN. The report compiles recent scientific findings on WTN, including the results of nationwide field measurements in Japan and the results of review of the scientific literature related to health effects of WTN. The report sets out methodology for investigation, prediction and evaluation as well as case examples of countermeasures. A noise guideline for wind turbine, which suggests WTN should not be more than 5dB above the residual noise where residual noise levels are above 35-40dB, is also presented in the report. MOEJ is developing a WTN noise guideline and a technical manual for WTN investigation based on the report. Both documents will be finalized in the fast half of 2017.
“Wind Turbine Noise Effects on Sleep: The WiTNES Study” by Michael Smith, Mikael Ögren, Pontus Thorsson, Laith Hussain-Alkhateeb, Eja Pedersen, Jens Forssén, Julia Ageborg Morsing, and Kerstin Persson Waye – Sweden
Onshore wind turbines are becoming increasingly widespread globally, with the associated net effect that a greater number of people will be exposed to wind turbine noise (WTN). Sleep disturbance by WTN has been suggested to be of particular importance with regards to a potential impact on human health. … Almost all measures of self-reported sleep were negatively impacted following nights with wind turbine noise. The WTN nights lead to increased sleep disturbance, reduced sleep quality, increased tiredness, increased irritation, awakenings, increased difficulty to sleep, sleeping worse than usual, and decreased mood. Subjects dwelling close to wind turbines, and consequently potentially exposed to WTN at home, repeatedly scored their sleep and restoration lower than the reference group following the WTN nights.
“Frequency Weighting for the Evaluation of Human Response to Low-Frequency Noise Based on the Physiological Evidence of the Vestibular System” by Junta Tagusari, Shou Satou, and Toshihito Matsui – Japan
Several studies were found regarding adverse health effects due to low-frequency noise emitted by industrial machines including wind turbines. However, the causal chain between low-frequency noise and health effects still remains unclear. Meanwhile, from the physiological viewpoint, low-frequency noise stimulate hair cells in the vestibular system, which could cause dizziness, vertigo, headache and nausea. The stimulating process is different from the hearing process in the cochlea, which implies that the A-weighting is not appropriate for evaluating the risk of low-frequency noise and that an alternative method is required. …
Source: National Wind Watch
The topic of the risk of harm to human health associated with wind energy facilities is controversial and debated worldwide. On March 29, 2017, Carmen Krogh presented at the University of Waterloo which considered some of the research dating back to the early 1980’s. A snapshot of some of the current research available in 2017 was provided. The research is challenged in part by the complexities and numerous variables and knowledge gaps associated with this subject. This presentation explored some of these research challenges and provided an update on the growing body of evidence regarding human health risk factors. Included was the emerging research indicating risks to those working in this field.
Carmen M Krogh is a full time volunteer and published researcher regarding health effects and industrial wind energy facilities and shares information with communities; individuals; federal, provincial and public health authorities, wind energy developers; the industry; and others. She is an author and a co-author of peer reviewed articles and conference papers presented at wind turbine scientific noise conferences. Ms Krogh is a retired pharmacist whose career includes: senior executive positions at a teaching hospital (Director of Pharmacy); a drug information researcher at another teaching hospital; a Director of a professional organization; and a Director (A) at Health Canada (PMRA). She is the former Director of Publications and Editor in Chief of the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS), the book used by physicians, nurses, and health professionals for prescribing information in Canada.
By Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD.
The French National Academy of Medicine has used this document in an attempt to redefine “Wind Turbine Syndrome”:
In summary, the health nuisances seem to be primarily visual (disfigurement of the landscape and its psychosomatic consequences) and to a lesser degree noise (of an intermittent and random character as generated by wind turbines of older generations). Medically, wind turbine syndrome is a complex and subjective entity with several factors contributing to its clinical expression, some related to the wind turbine itself, others to the complainants and to the social, financial, political, and communication environment (p. 14).
To reach this conclusion, the authors first review turbine noise levels and hearing thresholds, concluding that noise levels are low. They then review the following potential mechanisms:
The authors continue:
The authors proceed to discuss how to ameliorate the effects of wind power development, assuming (as they do) that wind energy is a political given. They propose extending the setback distance from 500 to 1000 m, while recognizing that this is neither politically feasible nor likely to be effective with larger turbines (p. 17).
They discuss caps on dBA noise levels relative to pre-construction and suggest that post-construction enforcement should be improved (p. 15). They suggest design features that affect airflow over and around the blades or stop the turbines when noise thresholds are exceeded (p. 16).
They recommend better public discussion and profit-sharing:
Out-of-date on noise descriptions. Does not use the “wind turbine signature” of pulsatile infrasound/low frequency noise with duration of 4 to 100 msec, which is perceptible at sound pressure levels as low as 60 dB (Punch & James 2016, Cooper 2014).
Never mentions migraine as a clinical entity affecting 18% of women and 6% of men; individual differences are instead treated as a reason to discredit physiologic causation and discredit as psychological frailty the population affected. They cite 4 to 20% affected, saying this is so close to the 10% considered affected by traffic noise in Europe that it is acceptable. This is tantamount to defining a sacrifice population and includes blaming of victims.
All the recommended interventions are either in place, have been tried and are useless, or have been called for for years but require changes in human nature, reducing the recommendations herein to “tuttut, let’s all behave better.”
This document attempts to redefine “wind turbine syndrome” to represent factors which are actually not wind turbine syndrome. Wind turbine syndrome is the reaction of migrainous or motion-sensitive people to wind turbine acoustic emissions, the latter now well defined as sharply pulsatile lowfrequency noise. Wind turbine syndrome is different from hysteria or nocebo, as it occurs in people by surprise, who had no thoughts about the turbines before the turbines were installed and turned on and the symptoms began.
I challenge every member of the French working group and their consultants, listed in the report, who self-identifies as having migraine, motion sensitivity, or balance problems, or their family members, including children with developmental disorders such as autism in which auditory and position/balance processing are distorted, to spend a week in a wind park. This would be simple to accomplish and could lead to a tidy “exposure” experiment without ethical obstacles, as the authors believe that they could not be affected as they do not have the psychological limitations and shortcomings they blithely attribute to affected people and use as an excuse to dismiss them.
Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD
19 Clay St
Malone, NY 12953
Jerry L. Punch and Richard R. James, “Wind Turbine Noise and Human Health: A Four-Decade History of Evidence That Wind Turbines Pose Risks,” The Journal at Hearing Health & Technology Matters (October 2016), 72 pp.
Steven Cooper, “The Results of an Acoustic Testing Program: Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm,” The Acoustic Group Report for Energy Pacific, 44.5100.R7:Msc (November 26, 2014), 224 pp.
Source: Friends Against Wind
The planned extension of the terrestrial wind energy sector raises an increasing number of complaints from associations of local residents reporting functional disturbances achieving what is known as the “wind turbine syndrome”. The aim of this report was to analyze the real health impact and to propose recommendations that could reduce its potential impact.
If the terrestrial wind does not seem to directly induce organic pathologies, it affects through its noise and especially visual nuisance the quality of life of a part of the residents and thus their “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being “Which today defines the concept of health.
In order to improve the acceptance of the wind and to reduce its direct or indirect health impact, the working group recommends:
– to ensure that during the authorization procedure the public inquiry is carried out with the aim of fully informing the local populations, facilitate consultation between them and the operators, and facilitate referral to the prefect by the complainants ,
– to allow the installation of new wind turbines only in areas where there has been consensus among the population concerned as to their visual impact, given that the increase in their size and their planned extension may alter Sustainably the landscape of the country and to elicit opposition and resentment on the part of the riparian population – and general – with their psychic and somatic consequences.
– to systematize acoustic compliance checks, the periodicity of which must be specified in all authorization orders and not on a case-by-case basis,
– to encourage technological innovations likely to restrict and “bridle” in real time the noise emitted by the wind turbines and to equip the oldest wind turbines,
– to reduce the threshold for triggering emergence measures to 30 dB A outside the dwellings and to 25 inside, (while leaving the wind turbines under the regime of the Classified Installations for the Protection of the Environment) ,
– undertake, as recommended in the previous report, a prospective epidemiological study on health nuisances.
* Member (s) of the Academy of Medicine
The authors state that they have no conflict of interest in relation to the content of this report.
Our Experiment in Environmental Ethics
To the Editor:
Back in the 1960s, Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram conducted a research experiment whose results shocked the nation.
Participants were told that they were taking on the role of ‘teacher’ in a study of methods to improve learning. An authority figure told the ‘teacher’ to administer increasingly powerful electric shocks to a ‘learner’ in the next room whenever a question was answered incorrectly. There actually were no shocks and the learner was part of the research team, but the ‘teacher’ heard increasing cries of pain with each ‘shock’ administered. Even as the intensity of the shocks approached the maximum of 450 volts, the authority insisted that the shocks should continue – that the anguished screams, the banging on the wall, the pleas about heart conditions, and ultimately the ominous silence from the other room should all be ignored.
It was believed that most people would defy the authority figure once they became aware that the shocks were seriously harming another person. But that was not the case: almost 2/3 of participants continued to obey the authority figure, administering ‘shocks’ until the very end.
I was reminded of the Milgram experiments recently while attending two Public Service Board hearings on new proposed sound limits for industrial wind facilities. Because there have been problems, a lower standard of 35 dBA, (down from 45 dBA) has been proposed. (The World Health Organization recommends 30 dBA.)
Those who live close to Vermont’s existing industrial wind facilities have described a range of symptoms that include sleeplessness, headaches, ringing ears, and nausea. For fifteen months, Shirley Nelson, who lived less than a mile from the Lowell wind project, kept detailed recordings of decibel readings (from a monitor installed at their home by the developer, Green Mountain Power) and the health effects she and her husband were experiencing. Entries from her ‘noise diary’ clearly demonstrate the sustained and cumulative adverse effects of living near the turbines at the previous standards.
The Therrien family, who lived near the turbines in Sheffield, pleaded for years for relief – from the PSB, the wind developer, the town of Sheffield, former governor Shumlin and other state officials – to no avail. Their symptoms? “Disturbed sleep, headaches, tinnitus (ear ringing), sense of quivering or vibration, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, difficulty with concentration, memory loss and irritability.”
At the Montpelier hearing, the lawyer who represents the proposed Swanton Wind project told the Board to ignore these symptoms – dismissing them as coming from “complainers” and “outliers” whose testimony was just “anect-data”. Instead, he said, the Board should focus solely on submitted peer-reviewed studies that show no health impacts from proximity to industrial wind facilities
In other words: trust authority; ignore the pleas from the other room; continue administering the shocks.
What about other peer-reviewed studies showing that infrasound from industrial wind turbines does affect human health? And it’s hard to dismiss as mere “anect-data” the fact that deteriorating health forced the Therriens and their two young children to abandon a home they loved.
At the hearings, several residents of Lowell (perhaps believing that new standards would threaten their cash cow) not only implied that their neighbors were lying about the health impacts they’ve experienced, but claimed to live much closer to the turbines – with no ill effects – than they actually do. And the few supporters drummed up by VPIRG and industry promoter Renewable Energy Vermont callously waved off the impacts on humans, wildlife, land and water. Some actually called for raising the noise standard to make it easier on the industry.
Reading from talking points generated by VPIRG, someone commented, “There are only eight families complaining….”
What is the magic number that will elicit empathy from VPIRG? Thirty families? A hundred?
In the Milgram study, the pain the ‘teachers’ believed they were inflicting was justified by the supposed benefit of a better understanding of human learning. In Vermont, the justification from developers is that industrial wind is a ‘clean’ solution to climate change. And there are politicians, ‘environmental’ celebrities and non-profit organizations willing to put on a white coat and hold a clipboard to pose as the ‘authority’ on the industry’s behalf.
But for those who find clear-cutting, blasting, and bulldozing mountain ridgelines, degrading water sources, eliminating wildlife habitat, and killing birds and bats ‘clean’ and ‘green’, take a look at before-and-after photos of entire valleys in China destroyed by the mining of rare earth metals, a critical component in industrial wind turbines. Where there were once thousands of acres of carbon-sequestering grasslands there are now mountains of toxic sludge. Four thousand tons of material must be mined to produce the two tons of metals needed for each 3-megawatt turbine.
Production tax credits, the sale of renewable energy credits, and the requirements of state renewable energy portfolios have made the buildout of industrial ‘renewables’ very profitable for corporations, even when the climate benefits are marginal or non-existent. Utility law professor Kevin Jones at Vermont Law School describes all this as a ‘shell game’ that has actually led to an increase in Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Clever marketing has induced some of us to engage in moral relativism, ethics without substance, and environmentalism at the cost of its soul. If you find yourself arguing in favor of throwing someone under the bus because your favorite pop-‘environmentalist’ says it’s necessary, ask yourself what you would have done in Milgram’s lab.
Suzanna Jones lives off the grid in Walden.
Letter to Editor Published Caledonia Record on May 22, 2017
The following is a letter to the Standing Committee on the Green Energy and Economy Act in back in April, 2009. It could have been written a month ago. Clearly the “Economy” target of the Liberals Act took precedence over health and safety as billions have been funneled out of the tax coffers to the owners of these projects. Thousands of complaints have been suppressed. Untold number of families have been impacted. Most irreparably.
“The windmills started up at the end of November/early December 2008 and it was only after they started them up full time that we started having problems. They were so loud we could not sleep. It was aggravating and exhausting. The one closest to us is 456 metres behind us to the west and the next is just less than 700 metres to the east. We can hear them equally well and they cause terrible noise…
View original post 2,253 more words
Colin H Hansen, University of Adelaide, Australia
Con J Doolan, University of New South Wales, Australia
Kristy L Hansen, Flinders University, Australia
A comprehensive guide to wind farm noise prediction, measurement, assessment, control and effects on people
Wind Farm Noise covers all aspects associated with the generation, measurement, propagation, regulation and adverse health effects of noise produced by large horizontal-axis wind turbines of the type used in wind farms.
The book begins with a brief history of wind turbine development and the regulation of their noise at sensitive receivers. Also included is an introductory chapter on the fundamentals of acoustics relevant to wind turbine noise so that readers are well prepared for understanding later chapters on noise measurements, noise generation mechanisms, noise propagation modelling and the assessment of the noise at surrounding residences
The book provides comprehensive coverage of the topic, containing both introductory and advanced level material.
ORDER YOUR COPY: http://ca.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-111882606X.html
The World Health Organization is currently reviewing the European Environmental Noise Guidelines:
“The guidelines will assess several environmental noise sources such as aircraft, rail, road, wind turbines and personal electronic devices. The document will also consider specific settings such as residences, hospitals, educational settings and public venues. In addition, the guidelines will review the evidence on health benefits from noise mitigation and interventions to decrease noise levels.”
Below is a letter submitted for consideration.
Dear Mme Héroux,
I should be grateful if you would ensure that this report reaches the ladies and gentlemen of the panel reviewing the WHO’s noise guidelines for Europe.
In an effort to assist a society in danger, I feel obligated to make this case public. I am employed in schools within a rural area. The projects I am involved in run throughout the school year. I hope it will be understood why I cannot reveal names and locations. Sadly, I must protect myself against the professional consequences which could result from a fully detailed testimony.
During the past two years, I have worked in a school located 5 km to the east of a small wind farm, whose elevation is about 300 feet above that of the establishment. Most of the time, the school is downwind from the 2 MW wind turbines. In 2014/2015, I worked with the kindergarten consisting of 20 children aged 2.5 to 5 years of age. I’ve been engaged in this work for a long time, and I know the region and its people very well.
I was surprised how hard it was to manage this class of very young children. Actually, the teacher would systematically divide the class into two groups of 10, although I usually have no problems working with whole classes. Nonetheless, I found it hard to maintain the concentration of many of these children. In addition, a lot of pupils exhibited unusual and completely improper behaviour, which was violent and disruptive. I had rarely encountered this before with children of that age group, and never in such proportions. I did not understand why at first. It wasn’t the teacher’s fault: he was kind and rigorous at the same time, which is perfect for such small children.
During the second school year, I was again assigned to that school, but this time in two classes: the kindergarten divided into two groups, and a class with children aged 6 to 7.
This second class was absolutely unmanageable during the five first sessions. Its experienced teacher commented to me it was like that most of the time, he just could not handle those children. Yet again, nothing was wrong with the teacher. Several children seemed to be extremely ill at ease, a feeling shared by the teacher. There were instances of fits, outbursts of rage, rolling on the floor, knocking tables over and provoking each other into violent behaviour. The teacher was losing confidence and was also beginning to feel ill himself, on one occasion coming very close to a burn-out. The tiredness etched upon his face reflected his struggles. It should be noted that he also had problems with his memory, and it was becoming obvious that the children’s behaviour was not the only cause of his troubles, but that the location as well was a highly plausible culprit.
I soon made the connection with the wind turbines, because this behaviour reminded me of two children I had worked with a couple of years ago: they lived 800 yards from a wind farm. Having realised that, I started to check on the wind direction every time I drove to the school, when passing the wind turbines which in any event can be seen from the village.
From the start of the 6th session the change was dramatic: this class was the most peaceful I had ever taught. The children were remarkably calm and took part in the experiments in a very constructive way, intervening advisedly, all without pushing and shoving or fighting. Notably, the wind was blowing from the east, from the village to the wind farm, not the other way around as it did previously. I informed the teacher about my observation.
Some time later, having worked during the morning in the kindergarten, I was having lunch with their teacher in the classroom before going to another school. At noon, he was called by his third colleague. The 6-7 year olds’ teacher had left the school in tears, after a horrible morning spent with his pupils who had behaved particularly violently and unbearably. While we were eating, we stopped talking for a moment. This is when I felt the school vibrating, as if a lorry were passing on the country road 300 feet away. This vibration however, did not cease. In fact, the whole school was vibrating strongly, and we listened to that humming sound for a long moment. We opened the window, but there was no noticeable source of noise outside. It wasn’t the air extraction fan either, for we could hear its less obtrusive noise separately.
The classrooms had probably been vibrating during the whole morning, but this had been covered by the background noise of our activities. There is therefore very good reason to believe that this could have been the cause of the particularly strong malaise felt in the disruptive class of 6-7 year olds during the morning. That particular room faces the wind turbines and clearly acts as a sound box. The two other classrooms are more protected, but that didn’t prevent us from hearing strong vibrations in the kindergarten room, situated at the back of the building. The teacher of that class had also heard the noise very well. It is important to note that a sustained wind had been blowing from the direction of the wind turbines for several days.
The children all live in villages situated below the wind turbines, and were born after the construction of the wind farm. I recently met the mother of one of the children. She told me about the problems caused by the highly excitable nature of her two children and their classmates. She didn’t know what to do, so she had called a woman who claimed to be able to ‘demagnetise‘ her children. She also had special EMF electricity outlets installed. When I told her about my observations, her face immediately lit up and her comment was: « it’s quite possible ! »
I had worked previously in the same school, in the same conditions and within its ancient building before the turbines were built. I retain happy memories of these times.
I have also worked, twice, in another school, located 2 km west from a similar wind farm. First it was before the wind project was built, and I had found the children to be quick-witted, with many brilliant pupils among them, one being even recognised as exceptionally gifted. The second time around, it happened 4 and 5 years after the erection of the turbines. This was a part-time job which lasted 18 months, with 8-10 year olds.
When I took that assignment, I found that a very large proportion of the pupils had special education needs, a large number of them bound to low attainment, and many had learning disabilities officially recognised (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia etc.). Out of a class of 25 pupils, not a single one was considered brilliant. The same problems could be found in the second class, again with no children obtaining high grades. Given the high pedagogical quality of the teachers (they were the same as before the wind turbines), the eventual social problems of some of the children (not more than anywhere else) couldn’t justify the massive failure in this primary level schooling.
I thought this failure might have been caused by EMF pollution from permanent WIFI signals, and the faint natural light in the classes. But it was the same as years ago, and the same in other schools, where I had met numerous brilliant children. Again, the only difference here was the wind farm’s proximity.
Unlike the first school, and considering the prevailing westerly winds, this one was located upwind from the turbines, and at the same altitude. The children here didn’t exhibit the same violent temperaments and behaviour as those described earlier in the first case, or as the two children living 800 yards from wind turbines. On the contrary, this was a very peaceful class, almost lifeless, lacking in concentration, vitality and reactivity, with poor oral participation. A large proportion of children exhibited serious learning difficulties. In addition, when working in that school I became dizzy whenever rising from my desk, or when leaning over a child and straightening up. Here again, I thought the WI-FI was the cause (in fact it could have contributed some).
Comparing the two schools, the first one is located downwind about 300 feet below and 5 km away from wind turbines, with pupils born after these were erected, living in homes in much the same topographical situation as the school. They exhibit severe behaviour outbursts when the wind blows from the direction of the turbines.
In the second case we have a school located upwind, 2 km from another wind farm and at roughly the same elevation as its turbines, with pupils born before the construction of the wind farm, living in the same village as the school. A high proportion of them have severe learning difficulties which didn’t exist in that school before the wind turbines.
As the inquiry is about ambient noise, generally speaking, I also wish to report the harm done by air extraction fans and milking robots, which have invaded our farms. Contrary to the earlier milking machines, they don’t only work 2 x 2 hours a day, but keep humming around the clock, causing health problems to cattle and humans alike. This is not counting with the heat pumps. Actually, sources of infrasound are springing up everywhere. And although out of topic, please allow me to briefly mention the digital boards, the operation of which requires teachers to close the blinds, thus depriving a whole generation of children of natural light for a large proportion of their school day. In short, in an increasing number of schools, all these negative impacts on health add up. But clearly, from my experience as summarised above, wind turbines are responsible for the most harmful impacts.
I hope my testimony will enable you to write directives that will protect our children from these most harmful effects. I did not sign it, because too many “politically-incorrect“ whistle-blowers have lost their jobs, which is something, you will appreciate, myself and my family cannot possibly risk or afford. Only authorised persons in very senior positions know my identity. This report is, therefore, only anonymous with regard to its release into the public domain.
I should be grateful for confirmation of receipt of this letter.
Signature: identity legitimely withheld (see last paragraph above)
Letter posted online Dec.13.16: https://wcfn.org/2016/12/13/windfarms-affect-children/