Irish Wind Farm Study Proves Turbine Noise Causes Disease
WIND FARMS DO MAKE YOU SICK
Irish Daily Mail
16 October 2015
Irish scientists link them to cancer, stroke and heart attacks – wind turbines ‘too near family homes’
WIND farms can contribute to people getting diseases such as cancer and heart attacks, two leading Irish health experts have warned.
They say that noises emitting from turbines lead to sleep deprivation that can cause cancer and heart disease, along with a number of other illnesses.
Professor Graham Roberts, head of the Department of Endocrinology at University Hospital, Waterford, and Professor Alun Evans, an expert in public health at Queen’s University, Belfast, met Alan Kelly yesterday to warn the Environment Minister that the current guidelines in Ireland are a cause for alarm.
The rules allow turbines and power lines as close as 500 metres to a family home, while international standards demand they should be at least 2km away.
Prof Evans, recently wrote a report pointing to ‘serious adverse health effects associated with noise pollution generated by wind turbines’. The risks were due to sleep disturbance and deprivation with loud noise being one of the main causes.
He pointed out that sleep deprivation is associated with memory impairment in children and disturbed cognitive function in adults.
He told the Irish Daily Mail yesterday that distances between homes and turbines should be increased.
He said: ‘The bad effects of low frequency noise has been known for at least 40 years, the thing is 500 metres does not protect people. It is insufficient.’ He warned that there is evidence that the ‘infrasonic signatures’ that cause the damage can be picked up from 50 miles way, adding: ‘It is a serious problem. It doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Something like a quarter of people are more susceptible.’
Prof Evans explained: ‘It is a problem, the big thing being noise and sleep deprivation. Once you deprive people of sleep you make them more liable to become overweight and you delay their learning because while we sleep we reinforce memory.
‘Depriving people of sleep is not a good idea, overweight children become obese adults and obese adults are far more likely to [develop] a whole range of diseases particularly cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.’ He added that the noise doesn’t have to have a direct effect to cause a problem. ‘It can be indirect but it is still very important,’ he said. ‘And you can prevent diseases by preventing the more distant causes.’
And in his recent report, Dr Evans said that there had been no proper cost-benefit analysis in Ireland before the widespread introduction of wind power.
Both he and Dr Roberts believe there are fundamental technical errors in reports on current wind farm and power-line projects here.
They are concerned over the consultation process with the public. Some parents of autistic children have particular fears about the effects turbines and high-voltage pylons have on their quality of life.
John Callaghan has objected to wind farms in Co. Meath, which he fears will affect the environment and health of his autistic son.
The engineer, who has studied renewable energy at postgraduate level, said his seven-year-old son is autistic and very sensitive to noise and says he has ‘grave concerns’ about the impact of the proposed wind farm on his son, himself, his family and the local area, including wildlife, heritage and the cultural landscape.
The meeting between the professors and the minister was organised by community campaigner David Reid of the Westmeath Alliance. Mr Reid said there are significant concerns about noise pollution for people living close to wind turbines. He said the World Health Organisation refers to this as ‘environmental insomnia’, if the noise is above a certain threshold.
Irish Daily Mail
Alun Evans made a brilliant submission to Australia’s Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud – available here.
David Reid is right on the money when he points out that “the World Health Organisation refers to noise pollution for people living close to wind turbines as ‘environmental insomnia’”. The WHO has defined noise induced ‘environmental insomnia’ as an adverse health effect, in and of itself, for something like 60 years. Its Night-time Noise Guidelines for Europe – the Executive Summary at XI to XII which covers the point – says:
NOISE, SLEEP AND HEALTH
There is plenty of evidence that sleep is a biological necessity, and disturbed sleep is associated with a number of health problems. Studies of sleep disturbance in children and in shift workers clearly show the adverse effects.
Noise disturbs sleep by a number of direct and indirect pathways. Even at very low levels physiological reactions (increase in heart rate, body movements and arousals) can be reliably measured. Also, it was shown that awakening reactions are relatively rare, occurring at a much higher level than the physiological reactions.
The review of available evidence leads to the following conclusions.
- Sleep is a biological necessity and disturbed sleep is associated with a number of adverse impacts on health.
- There is sufficient evidence for biological effects of noise during sleep: increase in heart rate, arousals, sleep stage changes and awakening.
- There is sufficient evidence that night noise exposure causes self-reported sleep disturbance, increase in medicine use, increase in body movements and (environmental) insomnia.
- While noise-induced sleep disturbance is viewed as a health problem in itself (environmental insomnia), it also leads to further consequences for health and well-being.
- There is limited evidence that disturbed sleep causes fatigue, accidents and reduced performance.
- There is limited evidence that noise at night causes hormone level changes and clinical conditions such as cardiovascular illness, depression and other mental illness. It should be stressed that a plausible biological model is available with sufficient evidence for the elements of the causal chain.
STT tends to think the World Health Organization – after more than 60 years of studying the problem – might just know a thing or two about night-time noise, sleep and health. And, after more than 5 years of suffering, so do Clive and Trina Gare.
Notwithstanding a $200,000 annual pay-cheque, and thousands spent on noise ‘mitigation’, the Gares still can’t sleep properly; or otherwise enjoy their own home – their suffering continues:
What Alun Evans and his team have done is simply confirm what is simply obvious to any human being gifted with our good friends ‘logic’ and ‘reason’: deprive someone of sleep over an extended period and their health will suffer.
Even after one ‘rough night’, you don’t ever hear the sufferer bubbling about how much better they felt in the morning. No, the usual response is about telling those around them to keep out of their way for the day, or there’ll be trouble (often in terms too ‘blue’ to print). However, that ‘trouble’ manifests as a danger not just to the sufferer and his nearest and dearest, but to a range of others who might end up tangling with the insomniac, as their sleep-deprived day draws on:
Alive to the critical importance of regular, quality sleep to health, the common law has recognised a person’s right to a decent night’s sleep in their own home for over two centuries.
STT’s Nuisance “In-a-Nutshell”
Nuisance is a long recognised tort (civil wrong) at common law based on the wrongful interference with a landowner’s rights to the reasonable use and enjoyment of their land.
Negligence is not an element of nuisance, although aspects of the former may overlap with the latter. Where, as here, the conduct is intentional (ie the operation of the wind turbines is a deliberate act) liability is strict and will not be avoided by the defendant showing that it has taken all reasonable steps to avoid the nuisance created. Indeed, the conduct of the defendant is largely irrelevant (unless malice is alleged); the emphasis is on the defendant’s invasion of the neighbouring landowner’s interests.
A defendant will have committed the tort of nuisance when they are held to be responsible for an act indirectly causing physical injury to land or substantially interfering with the use or enjoyment of land or of an interest in land, where, in the light of all the surrounding circumstances, this injury or interference is held to be unreasonable.
The usual remedy for nuisance is an injunction restraining the defendant from the further creation or continuance of the nuisance. Injunctions are discretionary, in all cases, and will not be granted unless the nuisance caused is significant.
Where interference with the enjoyment of land is alleged, the interference must be “substantial” and not trivial.
Interference from noise will be substantial, even if only temporary in duration, if it causes any interference with the plaintiff’s sleep.
The loss of even one night’s sleep through excessive noise has been repeatedly held to be substantial and not trivial in this sense (seeAndreae v Selfridge & Co  3 All ER 255 at 261, quoted with approval in Munro v Dairies Ltd  VLR 332 at 335; Kidman v Page  St R Qd 53 at 59; see also Halsey v Esso Petroleum Co Ltd  1 WLR 683 at 701: “a man is entitled to sleep during the night in his own house”).
It is not a defence for the party creating the nuisance to claim that he is merely making a reasonable use of his property. The defendant’s conduct may well be otherwise lawful, but still constitute actionable nuisance. The activity engaged in by the defendant may be of great social utility or benefit, but that has been repeatedly held as being “insufficient to justify what otherwise would be a nuisance” (see For example, Munro v Dairies Ltd  VLR 332 at 335; see also Halsey v Esso Petroleum Co Ltd  1 WLR 683)
Halsey’s case is well worth a read – a real “David and Goliath” battle, as described by the trial Judge: “This is a case, if ever there was one, of the little man asking for the protection of the law against the activities of a large and powerful neighbour.” And just like David’s epic battle with a thuggish giant, the little bloke won!
Here’s a link to the case: Halsey v Esso Petroleum  1 WLR 683
Precisely the same principles were at work in the case pursued by Julian and Jane Davis, who successfully obtained a £2 million out of court settlement from a wind farm operator, for noise nuisance; and the resultant loss of property value (the home became uninhabitable due to low-frequency noise, infrasound and vibration).
The Particulars of Julian and Jane Davis’ Claim are available here: Davis Complaint Particulars of Claim
And Jane Davis’ Statement (detailing their unsettling experiences and entirely unnecessary suffering) is available here: davis-noise-statement
What the likes of Alun Evans have done, is to add to the growing body of irrefutable evidence, that is now well-and-truly sufficient to take on wind power outfits in Civil Proceedings; to win back everything that you worked so hard to obtain; and that they were prepared to simply steal from under you, with knowing assistance from your very own governments.