Wind Turbine Noise Deprives Farmers and Truckers of Essential Sleep & Creates Unnecessary Danger for All
Deprive someone of a decent night’s sleep and the wheels start to fall off pretty quickly.
In the absence of quality sleep, it’s not long and people start suffering mood swings, impaired mental function, lose capacity for abstract thought and – if operating heavy machinery or driving – become a danger to workmates and/or fellow road users.
Next time some tobacco advertising guru or other apologist for the harmcaused by giant fans starts mouthing off that there are no adverse health effects from turbine noise, flick them a copy of the WHO Night-time Noise Guidelines for Europe – the Executive Summary at XI to XII covers the point – and a copy of Anne Schafer’s brilliant survey of AGL’s victims at Macarthur.
Sleep is essential for good health. THE most prevalent adverse health impact from giant industrial wind turbines is noise related sleep deprivation.
We’ve covered the fact that Industrial Noise – is always and everywhere a public health issue and that Sleep Deprivation the Most Common Adverse Health Effect Caused by Wind Turbine Noise.
Depriving anyone of a decent night’s sleep is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment; to inflict that punishment on people trying to sleep in their own homes is an invasion of their property rights; and, therefore, amounts to a form of theft, as well:
But stealing someone’s ability to get a solid 8 in the sack, has particular consequences for those who work with dangerous tools, machinery; or those who jump behind the wheel of a 60 tonne B-Double, and thunder off on days long treks, on Australia’s endless highways.
Australian heavy vehicle drivers are all subject to very strict rules about the maximum time behind the wheel, rest intervals and sleep. The assumption is that if the driver is off the road, then he or she will be catching some ZZZs; and, thereafter, be refreshed for yet another 8 hour slog down the road, before taking another scheduled break. All of these common sense rules are aimed at road safety – the driver’s own, and every other road user. And fair enough, too.
Farmers often jump behind the wheel of trucks in the wee-hours to get stock to markets or grain to silos; and spend endless hours on tractors during cropping activities. And there are a range of other dangerous activities that require a farmer to have their wits about them: operating post-hole diggers; and hanging onto a whirring handpiece while shearing or crutching a thumping big wether keen to avoid losing any part of its fibrous coat, to name a couple.
So, to deprive this class of people of a decent night’s sleep creates a health and safety problem, with the potential for some very serious impacts.
Ron and Chris Jelbart are farmers who live next door to AGL’s Macarthur wind farm disaster in Western Victoria. Chris has detailed, in graphic terms, her suffering, caused by the incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound generated by 140 3MW Vestas V112s, since they kicked into operation in October 2012, in hundreds of complaints to AGL; and as set out in this letter to the local rag:
From: Chris JelbartSent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 7:05 PM
Subject: wind farm noise
I write in answer both to Nick Thies (Saturday letter), and to AGL (Tuesday Standard article). No-one who has not lived next to a wind farm can speak about the effects.
Multi-disciplinary scientific research has NOT been carried out. Any evidence is usually produced by groups or individuals who don’t want the truth known. Any evidence contrary to their views is ignored.
The extensive testing done by AGL by “independent” acoustic companies rely on parameters set by AGL so that full spectrum testing is not done. Sounds or noise that they don’t want are filtered out. Their testing could be compared with Collingwood being able to choose their own umpire on Saturday. I am sure the result would have been to Collingwood’s advantage.
The Senate recommended TWO years ago that research should be done, but nothing has happened. Now people surrounding the Macarthur Wind Energy Facility are suffering the consequences.
Why should we have to put up with disturbed and broken night’s sleep? Why should I have to hang over the sink dry-retching as I get lunch organised for the day? (I am 58 and not pregnant.) Why should my friends and neighbours suffer headaches, palpitations and head pressure? Why should families have to leave their homes to escape the effects of both audible and inaudible noise?
Not all people suffer from these problems. Some began experiencing symptoms immediately, for me it took at least 6 months. Others around the district are becoming more aware of problems as time goes on. It is NOT Simon Chapman’s nocebo effect. Some of those suffering believed we were talking utter nonsense 12 months ago.
We have to put up with the ridicule of people who live in their cities and towns with no clue of what is happening in our homes, expressing their disbelief at our suffering.
If AGL truly believes that their WEF at Macarthur is compliant, and not causing the distress that the surrounding residents are suffering, then it should encourage totally independent research to refute our suggestion to the contrary.
Ron, and their son, Peter recently gave evidence to the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud at Portland (see our post here) – evidence of the kind described by Senator Bob Day as “harrowing”:
Peter also presented this submission.
This is my submission in regard to the senate enquiry to wind farms.
My name is Peter Jelbart, I am 31 years old and grew up at our home property, where mum and dad farm to this day. It was a great place to grow up and my upbringing, although it was not perfect, was very good.
I remember as a young child dad working away shearing 5 days a week and farming on weekends, to hold onto the dream of farming grandpa’s block.
I remember them having to sell land up the road, and only just holding onto the home block. I remember as a primary school age kid feeding hay and grain to sheep after school, while dad was away for, at times, weeks.
I remember sheep being pitted and being told to play while the crack of 22 bullets rang out and truck load after truck load of sheep got dumped in a pit. This was in the early 90’s, wool was bad, land was worth nothing and interest rates were running into the 20% region.
However, as bad as things were at home mum and dad did everything they could for us. Obviously education was a priority, as was being involved with local football and cricket. The farm and home means everything to us. It is my parent’s life’s work, superannuation and life savings, all in one neat block of Western Victorian dirt.
From the age of 19 I moved to Port Fairy to play football and fell into work driving trucks, which I have loved from as early as I can remember. I lived in town for 3 years, and then moved to Portland for a year before ending up in Western Australia.
Since I started driving trucks I have been very focused on firstly building a career and secondly trying to work toward financial security. I have been quite successful at this early stage.
As I sit here writing this I am financially secure, happy and healthy. But there is a big problem. I am back at home after working away and the Macarthur Industrial Wind Turbines are driving me mad. I have had disrupted sleeps since day one of operation, but only when I stay at home. I am not neurotic or psychotic, I do not suffer from “The Nocebo Effect”, I have very disrupted sleep at home.
As a truck driver I have become used to sleeping in different environments. I have worked big hours in the past. I have slept beside busy highways often, and in Western Australia I regularly slept with an “Ice Pack” running, which is basically a diesel motor that runs a refrigerated air con unit and an alternator, which is used when the truck is parked, to cool the bunk. Initially these take a lot of getting used to. They are noisy and they cycle. They cut in and out but once I’m asleep they don’t worry me. I have become very aware of the way I sleep since I started to be disrupted by the Macarthur IWF.
My parent’s farm is within a couple of kilometres from the nearest tower, not that that means anything to you or to us, as we may as well have a tower on the back lawn.
From an aesthetic point of view they are unattractive. It is not this that that worries me. The Industrial Wind Turbines are not necessarily noisy, although they are audible most days. The problem is the sleep disruption, the inaudible noise and the “un-feelable” vibration.
We are suffering a very real and serious problem at home. Dad is suffering from severe sleep disruption; I have severely interrupted sleep, mixed with lucid dreams. I have been fortunate to spend most of my time away from home since the Macarthur IWTs started.
I have recently ended up living at home again and this has only reinforced what I already knew, that there is a serious problem coming from the emissions of the IWTs next door.
As a professional heavy vehicle driver I know about fatigue. I have sat through courses related to fatigue management yearly for the last ten years. I have worked big hours, illegal hours, and I know what tired is. I know what sleep is. I know the principals of circadian rhythms, how to handle shift work, what to eat, what to drink and what to avoid.
I also know that the sleep, or lack of, that happens at home, is completely foreign. It is not a problem with my head, my mind, my body, or anything else. It is a problem from being externally stimulated by the IWTs close to home. It is a combination of infrasound and low frequency noise. “Noise” that doesn’t get measured by planners, government, hosts or acousticians. “Noise” that doesn’t exist. “Noise” that is all in our heads. “Noise” that is completely denied by wind farm companies.
For years I have dreamed of running a truck of my own. Ideally I would use home as a base. This is no longer a viable option because of the sleep issue. How can I as a heavy vehicle driver, whose fatigue is measured in 15 minute intervals, with fines starting at $600 for minor breaches, work out of a place where I can’t sleep? What am I to do when I can’t turn up fit for duty, even if I spent 8 hours in bed?
Wind is a dirty industry, built on lies, mistruths and hypotheticals. It is an unsustainable industry. It will cost Australia dearly, not just now but into the future. We at home are merely political road kill. We don’t matter. As the great green con rolls on, our lives have been disrupted to a level unimaginable to almost all. Unless you personally experience the disruption, the sleepless nights, the constant battering, you don’t get it.
I have only touched on the most personal issue to me, the disrupted sleep. There are far more qualified people out there who will hopefully make submissions outlining the political and financial failings of wind farms. I can live in the shadows of a wind farm, I can put up with the industrialisation of the landscape. The thing I can’t handle is not being able to sleep at home.
My submission is to outline purely the fact there is a real and proper concern as far as sleep deprivation and sleep disturbance go as neighbours of a wind farm. I realise there are too many people investing too much money and I realise that politicians and policy makers don’t like knowing or admitting that they have been lied to, conned and bluffed by wind energy, and as such I doubt any real outcome will be achieved by this senate enquiry, although I thank anyone who holds real concern for us.
The only thing that I can realistically relate wind energy to is asbestos, and maybe tobacco. For how long have we heard the proponents claiming all the upsides with no side effects, at all, EVER!!
Wake up to the con, the lies, the bullshit, that is wind, before more disruption to good everyday people takes place. There is a reason a senate enquiry is taking place and it is about time some real answers were heard from people affected by wind farms.
Select Committee on Wind Turbines