FACT: Wind Turbines Make You Sick.

doctor wind

I have just finished reading a fascinating article “Low Frequency Noise-Induced Pathology: Contributions Provided by the Portuguese Wind Turbine Case” written by Nuno A. A. Castelo Branco, MD, Senior Surgical Pathologist; Mariana Alves-Pereira, PhD, Biomedical Engineer; Augusto Martinho Pimenta, MD, Senior Neurologist; and José Reis Ferreira, MD, Senior Pneumologist; all resident and practising in Lisbon, Portugal. The authors were involved in giving evidence to the Portuguese courts culminating in a Supreme Court action.

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Their findings were presented and accepted as expert evidence to Portuguese courts which eventually resulted in the wind farm developer being ordered by the Supreme Court of Justice of Portugal to remove the wind turbines from the vicinity of the applicant’s property (Supreme Court of Justice of Portugal. Decision No. 2209/08.oTBTVD.L1.S1, 30 May 2013).

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These legal proceedings involved four wind turbines (although more were built subsequent to the commencement of the legal proceedings).
The four wind turbines were located adjacent to the family farm as follows:
No. 1: 321.83m from the house and 182.36m from the stables,
No. 2: 539.92m from the house and 439.64m from the stables,
No. 3: 579.86m from the house and 565.50m from the stables,
No. 4: 642.08m from the house and 503m from the stables.

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The distances are important to Irish readers as our current guidelines suggest a clearance of 500m from residential homes (which wind developers routinely ignore in any event). Therefore, three of the listed turbines would be in a permissible position in Ireland.

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What are expert witnesses?

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As a general rule, witnesses can only testify about facts. It is the task of the jury, or the judge if there is no jury, to draw inferences from the facts presented in court, and witnesses must not be allowed to usurp this central function.

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There are two notable exceptions to this general rule. First, expert witnesses may give opinion evidence, which is their primary function. Secondly, non-experts are sometimes allowed to give opinion evidence in defined circumstances, usually where their evidence would not make any sense if it were not accompanied by opinion.

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Generally, a witness is considered an expert on the basis of their experience, training and knowledge. An expert witness is there to assist the court in coming to a conclusion in areas where the trial judge or jury might not have considerable expertise.

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The expert witness is called for his or her expertise and as such should regard themselves as ‘neutral’ witnesses, there to help the court rather than to help one of the litigating parties. Indeed, the authors point this out very clearly at the end of their paper, saying that they are only interpreting the evidence, and in fact support the push towards renewable energy.

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A famous decision setting out what is expected of expert witnesses is National Justice Compania Naviera S.A. v. Prudential Assurance Co. Ltd (“The Ikarian Reefer”) [1993] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 68 Where the court held:
• Expert evidence presented to the Court should be, and should be seen to be, the independent product of the expert, uninfluenced as to form or content by the exigencies of litigation.
• An expert witness should provide independent assistance to the Court by way of objective unbiased opinion in relation to matters within his expertise.
• An expert witness should state the facts or assumption upon which his opinion is based. He should not omit to consider material facts which could detract from his concluded opinion.
• An expert witness should make it clear when a particular question or issue falls outside his expertise.
• If an expert’s opinion is not properly researched because he considers that insufficient data is available, then this must be stated with an indication that the opinion is no more than a provisional one.
• If, after exchange of reports, an expert witness changes his view on a material matter having read the other side’s report or for any other reason, such change of view should be communicated to the other side.

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What is also important to remember is that an expert witness must be recognised as such by the court. The party who wants to lead expert evidence has to prove to the court that their witness is indeed an expert in their field. The opposition (in this case the wind industry) is entitled to attack the qualifications of the expert witness and attempt to convince the court that the witness should not be allowed to give his or her expert evidence. They can also call an opposing expert witness.

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In this case the Portuguese Supreme Court not only accepted the expertise of the authors of this article and allowed them to give evidence, but the Court also preferred their evidence to that of the expert witnesses used by the wind industry, whose evidence was rejected.

So what was that evidence?
The family in question consisted of a father, a mother, and two children. Before the wind farm was built, the eldest son was a high achiever and regularly came top of his class at school. The authors take up the story:

“The Industrial Wind Turbines were installed at a distance of 321-642 m from the residential home. Complaints of sleep disturbances were first reported in December 2006. In mid-March, Mr. and Mrs. R received a letter from their 12-year-old son’s schoolteacher, expressing concern for the growing difficulties in an otherwise outstanding student, “particularly in English, Humanities and Physical Education. He progressed in Mathematics, which is a field that naturally attracts his type of intelligence. However, in the above mentioned coursework, it seems that [the child] has lost interest, makes a lesser effort, as if he were permanently tired. In Physical Education, an abnormal amount of tiredness is also observed. Is [the child] leading a healthy life? Does he sleep sufficient hours during the night?”
This immediately prompted the parents to begin legal proceedings and seek medical assistance, and thus, this team’s first contact with Family R.”

The family hired an accredited acoustical firm to conduct continuous acoustical monitoring both inside and outside their home, for a period of 2 weeks, and that included real time wind speed data. Numerical data regarding acoustical and wind speed information, independently collected by the accredited firm, was then provided to these experts (the abovementioned authors) for analysis and these experts deemed the turbine noise to be dangerous to the health of this family.

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On that basis the family were sent for medical examination. The authors summarise the findings of the examinations (my emphasis):

“The 12-yearold child received a neurological test assessing cortical nerve conduction times: P300 Event Related Evoked Potentials (ERP). P300 ERP disclosed nerve conduction time to be 352 ms, when expected value should be closer to 300 ms. Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials (BAEP) disclosed asymmetries in the right and left nerve conduction times, and the right I-V interval interlatency value was at the threshold of normal (4.44 ms). Mr. and Mrs. R. disclosed slight to moderate pericardial thickening: between 1.7 mm and 2.0 mm (normal for the equipment in use: <1.2mm) [12]. Respiratory drive was below normalized values in both adults (46%-53%, normal: >60%), suggesting the existence of brain lesions in the areas responsible for the neurological control of breathing.

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Observations made by the family included animal behavioural changes: Horses were seen to lie down and sleep during the day; Dogs were lethargic, and no longer jumped up requesting attention from their owners. Ants simply disappeared.”

Remember that these examinations are carried out in 2007, just a few months after the wind turbines are erected, and already the effects are dramatic.

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Alarmed by these symptoms, the mother and children moved into an apartment in the city in 2007. The boy’s health improved immediately and dramatically:

“After the summer vacation in 2007, spent away from the farm, the 12-year-old child had again received the P300 ERP examination that, this time, disclosed nerve conduction times much closer to normal: 302 ms. In 2010, this child was again an outstanding student, top of his class.”

The father, Mr. R, did not have the option of moving into town, as he had to stay with the family business on the farm. In contrast to his son, his health continued to deteriorate rapidly in those three years between 2007 and 2010:

“Over these 3 years, Mr. R’s health and wellbeing had continuously and visibly deteriorated: intolerance to (any) noise had become more severe; situations compatible with an unregulated sympathetic nervous system increased in frequency; and cognitive impairment became more pronounced.”

I would like a medical person to comment on this but to me this sounds like the father became seriously noise-sensitive, nervous and jumpy, and confused in his thinking.

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The family’s business was also threatened:

“Between 2000 and 2006, 13 healthy thoroughbred Lusitanian horses were born and raised on Mr. R’s property. All horses born after 2007 (after the wind farm was erected) on his farm developed asymmetric flexural limb deformities. Besides the IWT (Industrial Wind Turbines) installed in November 2006, no other changes (constructions, industries, etc) were introduced into the area during this time.”

This echoes the findings of another study detailing limb deformities in horses caused by industrial wind turbines.

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In 2015 the following alarming observations were made on the father’s health:

“Mr. R continues to live away from Mrs. R and the children, and his health has further deteriorated. The respiratory drive value that in 2007 was 46% (normal: >60%) is now at 28%. The development of balance disturbances associated with loss of consciousness has apparently caused several falls, requiring medical treatment for facial and rib fractures. This situation is still under clinical study, as late-onset epilepsy is one of the most severe outcomes of excessive ILFN (Infrasound & Low Frequency Noise) exposure.”

In May 2013 the Supreme Court of Justice of Portugal decided that the remaining 3 turbines had to be removed from the vicinity of Mr. R’s property. The lower court had ordered the removal of the closest turbine but allowed the other three to stay, hence the appeal to the Supreme Court. The developer is apparently appealing the decision to the European Court.

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In addition to ordering the removal of the wind turbines, the court also granted damages to the family in the amount of € 30,000.00, plus legal costs.

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A bittersweet victory given that Mr R’s health is ruined and the family’s way of life destroyed. Money cannot fix that sort of damage. Further turbines have also been built in the area as these legal proceedings concerned only the first four that were built (adjoining the family farm) and therefore the battle is not over yet.

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From a legal point of view what is important is that the courts, including the Supreme Court, accepted the expert evidence of the authors of this paper concerning the terrible toll that infrasound and low-frequency noise has on both humans and animals, whilst it rejected the opposing evidence led by the wind industry lawyers.

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A court is clearly neutral in this matter and has no hidden interests in a decision going one way or the other. A civil court must decide the evidence on a balance of probabilities. This means that before it accepts evidence, the court must be satisfied that the evidence is probable (capable of belief) and that it is more probable than the evidence given by the other side. In this case the Supreme Court accepted the evidence of the independent and neutral expert witnesses concerning the destructive effect of infrasound and low-frequency sound on the health of this family, whilst rejecting the evidence of the wind farm developer’s expert witnesses who claimed that the noise was within acceptable limits.

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As the authors conclude:

“An effort toward developing and implementing appropriate construction techniques that would minimize the deleterious effects of in-home ILFN could be, perhaps, an excellent beginning. The hindrance to this apparently viable beginning is the sine qua non prior recognition that ILFN is, de facto, a physical agent of disease.”

Again, I am not a medical person but I take that to mean: Wind farms are a danger to our health. Period.

About Neil van Dokkum

Neil van Dokkum (B. SocSc; LLB; LLM; PGC Con.Lit) Neil is a law lecturer and has been so since arriving in Ireland from South Africa in 2002. Prior to that Neil worked in a leading firm of solicitors from 1987-1992, before being admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa (a barrister) in 1992. He published three books in South Africa on employment law and unfair dismissal, as well as being published in numerous national and international peer-reviewed journals. Neil currently specialises in employment law, medical negligence law, family law and child protection law. He dabbles in EU law (procurement and energy). Neil retired from practice in 2002 to take up a full-time lecturing post. He has published three books since then, “Nursing Law for Irish Students (2005); “Evidence” (2007); and “Nursing Law for Students in Ireland” (2011). He is an accredited and practising mediator and is busy writing a book, with Dr Sinead Conneely, on Mediation in Ireland. His current interest is Ireland’s energy policy and its impact on the people and the environment. He is also researching the area of disability as a politico-economic construct. Neil is very happily married to Fiona, and they have two sons, Rory and Ian.
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16 Responses to FACT: Wind Turbines Make You Sick.

  1. Whilst one would hope that there are learned researchers beavering away on issues such as LFN to produce safeguards in the state authorities charged with preservation of public health, history teaches us that they are more likely to use our taxes to refute medical evidence. The first principle of groupthink is that the status quo must be preserved at all costs.
    Recent public inquiries show that groupthink continues to prevail. In the absence of constructive intervention by those charged with public protection, the only avenue remaining to the public is to protest at every possible venue and opportunity.
    Not a great way to run a country . . . .

  2. Ben says:

    Hi Neil,
    I read your article with interest, and subsequently the report, but it would appear that you have missed the point in both a general and specific context, though your take on it does make for catchy headline.

    On the quote that you conclude with…
    “An effort toward developing and implementing appropriate construction techniques that would minimize the deleterious effects of in-home ILFN could be, perhaps, an excellent beginning. The hindrance to this apparently viable beginning is the sine qua non prior recognition that ILFN is, de facto, a physical agent of disease.”

    What they mean by this statement is that ILFN is not yet recognized as an agent of disease, it is not covered by legislation. Permissible exposure levels for ILFN have not yet been determined, and dose-response relationships are unknown. Hence, no adequate standard exists to appropriately compare ILFN levels within the context of human health effects. Now that goes for any IFLN generator, including long haul Aircraft and residential air conditioning units not just wind turbines.
    On the more specific matter of this particular case, what their report presents is a professional opinion that Low Frequency Noise caused adverse health effects on both the residence and livestock. They do not provide empirical evidence, just background commentary on the case. However, looking into their report (the background data is a bit vague, but on consideration of what is there), this appears to be a logical conclusion. Recorded levels are in excess of the night time levels for sensitive areas in Portugal (45dB) in the Master bedroom! – That is much louder than what is generally permitted here and in other jurisdictions, and well in excess of normal acceptability for indoor levels. Reading a translation of the Court judgment, it appears that this statutory exceedance that was focused on rather than this Low Frequency report , which reinforces the earlier point.
    By the way, did you read the part where the author states: “In no way can or should this report be construed as a document arguing for or against the implementation of industrial wind turbines;”!?
    Dr. Castelo Blanco, Dr. Alves Pereira correctly assert that more studies should be done on IFLN. This research team has done a lot of work on IFLN and offer a potentially useful platform from which an appropriate standard can be developed – but that goes for all sectors that they have researched, not just Wind Farms. Only then can we determine the meaningful thresholds for all machines that have the potential to produce IFLN (including Wind Turbines) and state where they cause adverse health effects. It would also be possible to compare the health effects of long term IFLN exposure levels between, say, Long Haul Aircraft, residential Air Conditioning Units and Wind Farms, though I suspect that such a comparison would not be one that necessarily supports an anti-wind agenda. Nevertheless, let’s make the call to discover more and develop an appropriate standard to protect everyone, instead of cherry-picking one particular commentary about a non-compliant situation and simply stating that “Wind Farms make you sick”. Because doing neither gives credence to the author’s conclusion nor to the argument that you are so desperately trying to make.

    Dramatization of a problem rarely leads to any sort of solution.

    • Hello Ben

      I do not publish anonymous or pseudonym comments on my blog. If you could fully identify yourself and your interest / involvement in the area, I can then publish your comments and attempt a constructive reply.

  3. Hi Ben
    You have raised some of the more credible-sounding arguments regularly put forward by the wind industry. My blog is a legal blog and I write as a lawyer (I’m a bit dodgy with science) who is trying to understand the debate. From a personal perspective, I know many people whose lives have become a nightmare due to the erection of wind farms near their houses, and so you must excuse me if I occasionally write with a sense of outrage.

    I would invite people more qualified than I to respond to your comments which, on the face of it, appear logical and reasonable. I will do my best to respond as author of the blog.

    For ease of reference, I have broken up your comments into chewable bits and my answers:

    BEN: “On the quote that you conclude with…
    “An effort toward developing and implementing appropriate construction techniques that would minimize the deleterious effects of in-home ILFN could be, perhaps, an excellent beginning. The hindrance to this apparently viable beginning is the sine qua non prior recognition that ILFN is, de facto, a physical agent of disease.”
    What they mean by this statement is that ILFN is not yet recognized as an agent of disease, it is not covered by legislation. Permissible exposure levels for ILFN have not yet been determined, and dose-response relationships are unknown. Hence, no adequate standard exists to appropriately compare ILFN levels within the context of human health effects. Now that goes for any IFLN generator, including long haul Aircraft and residential air conditioning units not just wind turbines.”

    NEIL: I do not think that quote means that at all. What the authors are saying is that if we are to reach a point where there is to be a proper consideration of appropriate construction techniques, the wind industry must first admit that ILFN makes people sick. As long as the wind industry persists in denying what to sensible people is axiomatic, there can never be any progress in attempts to reach an amicable solution to the problem, particularly as regards acceptable setback distances.
    This is evidenced by the countless communities across the world who are vehemently protesting the siting of industrial wind farms in their neighbourhood, . Despite what the wind industry spin would have us believe, these people are not some lunatic fringe. I have spoken with a number of people suffering from nearby wind farms and they are just ordinary people whose lives have become a living nightmare since the arrival of their uninvited and unwelcome neighbours. Many do not understand the scientific reasons for their misery, only that they have been affected by the nearby wind farm.
    The comparison between wind turbines and aircraft and air conditioning is not a valid comparison. Unless one lived on top of a very busy airport there is no question that you would be subjected to the type of incessant low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines. In addition, airports have never denied that they are noisy! Finally, most people living near airports knew that they were buying a property near an airport as the airports were usually there already, whereas the relatively recent arrival of wind turbines means that most people were living there before their unwelcome new neighbour ruined their lives and devalued their property.
    The comparison between the low hum of an air conditioning unit and the “whop-whop” of a wind turbine does not merit comment but again, people actually choose to put air conditioning in their houses, and I doubt whether this applies to many people in Ireland in any event, given our cool climate.

    BEN: “On the more specific matter of this particular case, what their report presents is a professional opinion that Low Frequency Noise caused adverse health effects on both the residence and livestock. They do not provide empirical evidence, just background commentary on the case. However, looking into their report (the background data is a bit vague, but on consideration of what is there), this appears to be a logical conclusion.”

    NEIL: Again, I beg to differ. The medical examinations carried out on the family provided cogent and empirical evidence that the family were now experiencing brain, heart and respiratory problems never before experienced. As the only difference before and after was the wind turbines, this, as you say, was logically concluded to be the cause (along with the authors’ extensive previous research coming to exactly the same conclusions). That is empirical to me. Whilst the authors might opine on an interpretation of this empirical data, a court of law deals in fact and it is fact that allowed the applicants to succeed in their case resulting in the court ordering the removal of the turbines.
    The same can be said for the deformities in the foals born after the installation of the wind turbines. This was that poor family’s business, and clearly the fact that the business was good before the turbines assumes that the horses used to be healthy. Again, the facts speak for themselves.

    BEN: “Recorded levels are in excess of the night time levels for sensitive areas in Portugal (45dB) in the Master bedroom! – That is much louder than what is generally permitted here and in other jurisdictions, and well in excess of normal acceptability for indoor levels. Reading a translation of the Court judgment, it appears that this statutory exceedance that was focused on rather than this Low Frequency report , which reinforces the earlier point.”

    NEIL: My major concern is the situation in Ireland. The point I was making was that three of the four turbines mentioned in the Portuguese judgment would have been allowed in Ireland where the current guidelines (not regulations, which don’t exist) allow a 500m setback distance. Most of the turbines currently planned or built in Ireland are bigger and noisier than those four considered in the Portuguese judgment, and similarly levels of noise in excess of 45dB are relatively commonplace in Ireland. You can find these details at http://www.windnoise.info/. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that the valleys, dips and hollows experienced in terrains like Ireland can actually amplify the noise coming off wind turbines so that the noise in your bedroom might be as loud or even louder than the original source, despite the setback distance. This is something that one of the sound engineers will need to comment on, as it is outside my area of expertise.
    I have no doubt that the international readers of this blog will be able to provide similar examples in their own countries.

    BEN: “By the way, did you read the part where the author states: “In no way can or should this report be construed as a document arguing for or against the implementation of industrial wind turbines;”!?”

    NEIL: If you read the blog again, you will see that I made this point as evidence of the authors’ neutrality (unlike the expert witnesses for the wind company, whose evidence was rejected by the Portuguese court) – they were at pains to point out that they supported wind/renewable energy in principle.

    BEN: “Dr. Castelo Blanco, Dr. Alves Pereira correctly assert that more studies should be done on IFLN. This research team has done a lot of work on IFLN and offer a potentially useful platform from which an appropriate standard can be developed – but that goes for all sectors that they have researched, not just Wind Farms. Only then can we determine the meaningful thresholds for all machines that have the potential to produce IFLN (including Wind Turbines) and state where they cause adverse health effects. It would also be possible to compare the health effects of long term IFLN exposure levels between, say, Long Haul Aircraft, residential Air Conditioning Units and Wind Farms, though I suspect that such a comparison would not be one that necessarily supports an anti-wind agenda. Nevertheless, let’s make the call to discover more and develop an appropriate standard to protect everyone, instead of cherry-picking one particular commentary about a non-compliant situation and simply stating that “Wind Farms make you sick”. Because doing neither gives credence to the author’s conclusion nor to the argument that you are so desperately trying to make.
    Dramatization of a problem rarely leads to any sort of solution.”

    NEIL: Never knock a catchy headline – the wind industry certainly doesn’t: http://waubrafoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Doc7.jpg.

  4. Reblogged this on The Law is my Oyster and commented:

    I am reblogging this post as there have been some very good comments made by a member of the wind industry, and I would like people with more expertise than I to put up a proper response.

  5. Ben, you appear to take the view that “What they mean by this statement is that ILFN is not yet recognized as an agent of disease, it is not covered by legislation”. You are probably aware that the wheels of legislative change grind extremely slowly.
    Even a simple guideline change such as the outcome of the “Targeted Review in relation to Noise, Proximity and Shadow Flicker” published in December 2013 has not resulted in a change to the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines, despite the passage of 18 months during which several hundred wind turbines have passed through the planning process.
    I assume from your comments that you are well aware of the multitude of reports and personal testimony from victims of ILFN, many of which are published on YouTube for public viewing. Please do understand that these are real, live people who have had their lives disrupted by the uninvited imposition of wind turbines adjacent to their homes. Scarcely the stuff of hysterical rabble-rousers.
    You write that “Hence, no adequate standard exists to appropriately compare ILFN levels within the context of human health effects. Now that goes for any IFLN generator, including long haul Aircraft and residential air conditioning units not just wind turbines”. I suggest that this is a spurious contention, since it is not common practice to arbitrarily site international airports in quiet rural areas. If you suggest that ILFN emanating from long haul aircraft overflying lands at altitudes of 10km and higher, the corollary is that the setback distance should be 10km or more.
    In many ways the wind industry is its own worst enemy. It has managed to alienate a well-disposed general public who actively support climate change mitigation by a combination of arrogance and sharp practice. Its protagonists are quick to dismiss its victims as neurotic fools, whilst at the same denying the existence of any adverse effects. When taken in conjunction with practices such as Christmas Eve planning applications, it is small wonder that the public have turned sour.
    ILFN denial simply reinforces that alienation.

  6. Pat Swords says:

    I might approach this from a hybrid angle of law and science, in which in neither, an opinion gives an entitlement. Europe is divided into two administrative systems, that of civil law in Continental Europe and the common law system of UK, Ireland and Malta. Neil can in due course give a lawyer’s analysis of the differences, which are important, in particular where law and technical issues combine. In simple terms under common law, ‘if it is not specifically forbidden it is allowed’, which has its advantages in terms of flexibility, but results in major disadvantages in terms of predictability. Under civil law, the reverse essentially applies, ‘if it is not expressly allowed it is forbidden’.

    So to make a civil law system function and not cramp the pace of technological and societal development, there has to be a rapid development of regulations, decrees, associated technical standards, guidance, etc. Guess what, nobody does this better than the Germans, not least as they have a very impressive degree of social dialogue between worker representatives, regulators, industry bodies, academia, social insurers, etc. So we all know the advertisement: ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ – advantage through technology. Yet does anybody know that the German legal system is essentially based around compliance with ‘Stand der Technik’, which translates as state of the art technology? So what exactly is that, well its a moving target based on the current regulations, technical guidance, standards, established know how, etc. which is constantly being updated and tweaked.

    So is it any surprise that in European legislation we start seeing the same approach. For instance, the Machinery Directive, which sets the standards for a multitude of machinery items, including wind turbines. The manufacturer has a legal obligation to comply with the essential health and safety requirements defined in Annex I, which are broad and aspirational goals rather than precise technical specifics.

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:02006L0042-20091215&from=EN

    So how far is far enough, how safe is safe? As the recital to the Directive, which is the explanatory section explains:

    (14) The essential health and safety requirements should be satisfied in order to ensure that machinery is safe; these requirements should be applied with discernment to take account of the state of the art at the time of construction and of technical and economic requirements.

    So the ‘state of the art’ is the benchmark. In essence technical knowledge and national standards evolve, get adopted at European and international level and are considered to give a presumption of conformity to the various aspirational requirements in the legislation; it’s a cycle which goes round and round with updates, revisions, etc. But guess what, the Germans like to be there first; ‘Made in Germany’ is a big brand.

    So now time to talk about the PTB, the Physical Technical Bureau, which is a Federal Research Institute and a big player in the field of technology and industrial technology. Why not let the English version of their website do the talking:

    http://www.ptb.de/cms/en.html

    This is where technical standardisation and guidelines often have their origin and the PTB are now investigating low frequency sound and not at a superficial level. Their press release is worth a read:

    http://www.ptb.de/cms/en/presseaktuelles/journalisten/press-releases/press-releases-article.html?tx_news_pi1%5Bnews%5D=5963&tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&tx_news_pi1%5Bday%5D=10&tx_news_pi1%5Bmonth%5D=7&tx_news_pi1%5Byear%5D=2015&cHash=0f540c616e6aa47c5eed27c71f9aeb59

    Two extracts of relevance:

    At PTB, not only acoustics experts, but also experts from the fields of biomagnetism (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were involved in the research activities. They have found out that humans can hear sounds lower than had previously been assumed. And the mechanisms of sound perception are much more complex than previously thought. Another vast field of research opens up here in which psychology also has to be taken into account. And there is definitely a need for further research.

    The results of the international research project might lead to the introduction of uniform – and binding – protection provisions for these limit ranges of hearing within Europe, since there have been none to date.

    As regards the latter, if one cares to read the essential health and safety requirements in the Machinery Directive, then it’s all about reducing risk, including relation to the impacts of noise:

    Machinery must be designed and constructed in such a way that risks resulting from the emission of airborne noise are reduced to the lowest level, taking account of technical progress and the availability of means of reducing noise, in particular at source.

    One could also switch over to more familiar territory of environmental legislation and that there was an obligation to complete a Strategic Environmental Assessment, assess these impacts on human health, develop appropriate mitigation measures and monitor for unforeseen adverse impacts. None of which got done. So there is liability out there.

    Bottom line; this issue is not going to go away and if you are an investor / player in the wind energy scam, it is coming your way faster than you think!

  7. fclauson says:

    As a novice in this space but someone who has tried to read up as much as possible I offer up the following as a household which has had the low drone of 22 turbines within 4km of my home inflicted upon us.

    From an empirical measurement perspective I have used a class 1 noise meter to do some measurements and find that one brand (there are 3 in the locality) of turbines produces a signature tone at around 168Hz almost regardless of wind speed above around 3m/s at standardised 10M measurement (taken by extrapolating the 80M hub height figure)

    Is this LFN – no – not by the normal definition of sub 20Hz but it is a tone which is highly invasive and is hard to stop via normal domestic building fabrics (block, plasterboard etc)

    Is there LFN going on below this level? – probably – the 168 (i.e around 10,000/min) is much faster than the blades rotate (around 15 RPM) – we attribute it to either the gear boxes or the cooling fans.

    We have also done a short LFN measurement which can measure down to sub 1Hz – this detected other characteristics attributed to the wind farm carried out by an expert from Australia who has written multiple papers on the subject.

    So does any of this make you “sick” – your neighbours children/cat/dog/boiler….. noise can make you annoyed – perhaps even make you lose sleep – all of which are primary effects which might affect your health. Wind farms can have the same “annoying” effect.

    As an ex Londoner I do not go with the argument “you will get used to that” or “townies live with all sorts of noises” because wind farms have a range of characteristics which are unique.
    1) they do not move – so no Doppler effect
    2) they are omni present – day, night, mornings, evenings
    3) the noise is out of place in the countryside (and this leads to annoyance and its subsequent effects)

    I leave you with this thought – from the wind noise conference this year it put wind farm noise in the context of a piece of music:

    “Noise contains many characteristics (imagine an orchestra) and the brain looks for patterns (think chorus or refrain) as clues as to what is coming next. Wind farm noise is more random and contains no audio clues so the brain cannot pre-empt noise and build in an “ignore signal” to the consciousness. It has to continually process noise removing thinking capacity from the job in hand (i.e. reduces concentration).This is why wind farms are so annoying and a simple noise parameter of xxdB(A) is insufficient to protect citizens from the impact of wind farm noise.”

    • The brain “It has to continually process noise removing thinking capacity from the job in hand” — I find that very convincing.
      Does it not suffice to say that whereas the need is to end ALL burning of fossil fuels (which BTW, nuclear isn’t) and that it cannot be replaced by wind machines? The entire program should be abandoned, world-wide. Very simple Adam Smith reasoning should require that absolutely no preference be given it by governments.

    • Emu Griff says:

      fclauson,

      I believe we had the same Australian expert in our home in Wales! I presume his recording device was contained in a small yellow box ???

      We first had a noise recording done by our council health officer in 2009, albeit in 1/3rd octave frequency bands. The frequency spectrum covered by the equipment was 10 – 20,000Hz. In an Excel spreadsheet, the recorded data showed showed maximum noise levels in the infrasound and low frequency spectrum (10-40Hz). The bell shaped curve of averaged values in each 1/3rd octave frequency band suggests that there was a significant amount of noise below 10Hz frequency band which was not recorded by the equipment. With a SE wind direction prevailing on the day we believe the source of the infrasound was a wind farm 25 miles (40km) away.

      Prior to that wind farm being commissioned in the autumn of 2006 my wife could hear no disturbing infrasound. On returning from a 3 month trip abroad in Dec 2006 my wife immediately noticed an unnatural infrasound noise, but it took 2 years to conclude that ifrasonic noise pollution was probably emitted by the above mentioned wind farm. The proof is not scientific, but it is our conclusion based on observations made over a number of years.

      We were fortunate enough to get 9 days of measurements from the infrasound recorder, but unfortunately, we had no period during that time when the infrasound was intense … my wife is an excellent infrasound detector! However, on nights of still atmospheric conditions we noticed significant peaks of infrasound at approx 0.15 Hz on several different nights. When there was a light to moderate wind creating a turbulent atmosphere, that peak was not present in the recorded data.

      Our nearest wind farm is now only 8.5 miles (13km) away, yet it is still close enough to make my wife ill from time to time. This year, however, my wife has been hearing infrasound almost constantly. She’s suffering from more frequent headaches, chronic fatigue, and bouts of unsteadiness and nausea. What’s happening is pure torture 😦

      We know what the effects of chronic infrasound exposure are likely to be and are even considering moving away from our once tranquil rural home. However, we don’t know where we can move to in order to excape the infrasound plague. We can’t see any turbines from our home, so visual pollution does not come into it.

      • fclauson says:

        Emu

        I think it must be the one and same “Les Huson & associates” – do a google to see a raft of documents he has created on the subject. He comes from a measurement perspective rather than a medical one. He has for example measured London Array

        Take a look at
        https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/navitus-bay-wind-park-submission-infrasound/

        We really need medics as well as accousticians looking at this to see what effect it has on people. The issue is that some people are more affected by the noise than others. There is a lack of cause-effect detailed medical data at present but its slowly coming.

  8. Pingback: There is Absolutely NO Doubt About It….Wind Turbines Make People SICK! | "Mothers Against Wind Turbines™" Phoenix Rising…

  9. Pingback: Low Frequency Noise – for Beginners (like me) | The Law is my Oyster

  10. 4TimesAYear says:

    Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.

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