Infrared – the boomerang of the energies
| “I feel what you can not hear.” Thus, residents of wind power plants often describe their complaints, caused by low-frequency noise (infrared). But what is the cause of infrared, what impact does it have on people, what standards regulate the permissible sound emissions, and what is the state of science on these issues? A “The Energy Question” contribution by Dr. med Thomas Carl Stiller.
Inaudible but biophysiologically effective sound is not science fiction but an increasing threat to health. First, a few physical bases: sound is the pressure change in a medium such as air and spreads wavy around the source. The deeper the frequency, the more sound is transported in the air. Very low frequencies are also transmitted through closed buildings. As a result of acoustic reflections and superimpositions, it can then lead to excessively high sound pressure values. In general, sounds and noises are described by frequency, sound color and volume. The human ear can hear frequencies approximately in the range of 20,000 Hz, ie, vibrations per second (high tones) to 20 Hz (low tones). The sound range above a frequency of 20. 000 Hz is referred to as ultrasound, below 200 Hz as low-frequency sound, below 20 Hz as ultrasound. Both infrasound and ultrasound are no longer perceived by the ear, but the body has a subtle perception for infrasound, and some people are particularly sensitive to low-frequency sound.
In nature, low-frequency vibrations are ubiquitous. For example, the sea noise is transmitted over several hundred kilometers in the atmosphere, some migratory birds orient themselves. The sound pressure of natural noises in the infrared range, however, is quite evenly distributed over the different frequencies and is not perceived as disturbing by humans. The infrared of wind turbines is still measurable for several kilometers (1) .
On the other hand, humans are often exposed to technically generated ultrasound in their immediate surroundings. In residential areas, in the age of energy efficiency regulations for new buildings, air heat pumps are increasingly used as energy sources, which are cheaper to purchase than many other heating systems. In operation, however, they are often annoying for the neighbors, if the compressors are too loud and run too long. Even more problematic are wind power plants, in particular the modern large plants, which are mostly placed in front of villages and settlements at a small distance from the housing development. A pressure wave is generated every time a rotor blade is passed in front of the mast, many people perceive this as periodic “wummering”, sometimes also at a distance of several kilometers.
The consequences of technically generated infrared are only gradually understood. About 10 – 30 percent of the population is sensitive to infrared radiation. These people, in Germany several million, develop numerous symptoms, which we learn to physicians gradually. The low-frequency oscillations from compressors and wind power plants cause stress reactions in these people, which manifest themselves in sleep disorders, concentration disorders, nausea, tinnitus, dysphagia, dizziness, cardiac arrhythmia, fatigue, depression and anxiety disorders, earaches and permanent hearing impairments. From a physiological point of view, there is damage to the hair cells of the cortical organ of the auditory canal and to permanent irritation in cerebral arteries such as the almond nucleus (amygdala, anxiety center) (2) .
Those affected can not escape the effects of health and harassment. They are often ineffective for a long period of time. A neurobiological habituation of sensitive persons on technical infrasonic is not known. Often it is falsely asserted that the symptoms have to do with the personal attitude of the concerned against the infrasonic sources, a positive attitude against today’s energy policy thus to protect from infrasound symptoms. Unfortunately, this is not observed in medical practice, the symptoms are all sensitive. Numerous international studies have been carried out over the last few years, but in Germany this research is still very little developed and almost unknown at the political level.
If the symptoms occur, however, those affected can hardly react. Those who live in a residential area affected by low-frequency noise and infrared radiation can not usually move away so easily if, for example, they have to sell their house, which has lost a lot of value due to wind power plants nearby.
Who can still provide performance in today’s working world if he can not sleep by means of an infrared load and finds no peace in the house (4) ? How long can those affected compensate for this healthily and financially? Infrared-sensitive people are in a tragic dilemma: their complaints are not taken seriously and legally they do not go further because of the lack of immission control regulations.
The acoustician Steven Cooper, together with a wind farm operator in Australia, investigated the effects of infrared on the local population. Local residents near a wind park complained about the above complaints. But they did not have the wind farm directly in front of them. Cooper had her symptoms recorded at an exact time and checked the correlation with the activity of the wind power plants: the symptoms were strongest when the wind power plants were particularly active (5) .
In Dänemark haben Informationen über Missbildungen und Fehlgeburten auf einer Nerzfarm, in deren Nähe nachträglich Windkraftanlagen gebaut wurden, sowie gehäufte Berichte von Krankheitssymptomen von Menschen in der Nähe von Windkraftanlagen zu einem Ausbaustopp geführt, der genutzt wird, um die Zusammenhänge näher zu untersuchen. Auch hierzulande wird umweltmedizinisch das Thema Infraschall schon länger ernst genommen(6).
All previously valid protection standards, such as the Technische Anleitung (TA) noise and the DIN 45680, are based on the assumption that only such sound can damage the ear (7) . Other forms of the perception of sound remain outside. The measurement regulations are also not helpful, since only sound above 8 Hz is measured, although modern instruments can also detect frequencies of <1 Hz and the infrared range in the range 1 – 8 Hz causes particularly severe health impairments. The prescribed sound measurements also average individual frequency peaks. They are based on the decibel A filter, which follows the human auditory curve in the audible sound range and measures on many different frequencies rather than linear and narrow band, As would be appropriate to avoid health hazards in the infrasonic range. Furthermore, often obsolete measuring systems and microphones that do not measure accurately enough in the infrasonic range are still permitted within the scope of the currently valid regulations for measurement. As a result, the measurement of the sound phenomena that are harmful to human beings does not escape below 20 Hz. Since these measurement regulations are the basis for approval procedures for technical systems, they must be adapted to the state of the art. If the standards and regulations for the approval procedures of technical installations were at the level of the international state of knowledge, this would have direct effects: the measurement regulations for sound pressure corresponded to the state of the art, the limit values for infrasonic pressure would be set lower,
If technical sources of infrared radiation are not removed quickly and sustainably enough by wind turbines, the public’s complaints will develop into a health boomerang of energy sources. A new national disease with cases like diabetes and cancer is to be expected. It is high time for the politicians to meet their protection obligation for humans and nature and to initiate the most important measures from the point of view of preventive medicine: an immediate dismantling of wind power, greater minimum distances between man and wind power plants, Modern measurement regulations in the corresponding DIN standards and stricter protective regulations directed at sound physics and biology.
(1) Lars Ceranna, Gernot Hartmann & Manfred Henger; “The inaudible sound of wind turbines – infrared measurements on a wind turbine north of Hanover, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Unit B3.11, Seismology, 2004
(2) AN Salt, JT Lichtenhan; “Perception-based protection from low-frequency sound may not be enough”; InterNoise 2012. http://oto2.wustl.edu/cochlea . AN Salt, JT Lichtenhan; “How does wind turbine noise affect people?”, 2014.
(3) Alves-Pereira M, Castelo Branco NA; Prog. Biophys. Mol. Biol. 2007 Jan-Apr 93 (1-3): 256-79. Epub 2006 Aug 4; “Vibroacoustic disease: biological effects of infrasound and low-frequency noise elucidated by mechanotransduction cellular signaling”.
(5) Steven Cooper; “Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm”; 44.5100.R7: MSC; Prepared for: Energy Pacific (Vic) Pty Ltd, Level 11, 474 Flinders Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Date: 26th Nov, 2014.
(6) Robert Koch Institute; “Infrasonic and low-frequency sound – a topic for environmental health protection in Germany?”, Communication from the Commission “Methods and quality assurance in environmental medicine”. Position paper of the doctors for immission control ( www.aefis.de )
(7) Standards: DIN 45680, 45401, 45651; Technical guidance noise (TA noise). “Acoustics – Attenuation of sound in outdoor propagation – Part 2: General calculation method”. DIN EN 61260: 2003-03; “Electroacoustics – Band filters for octaves and fractions of octaves”; DIN EN 61400-11; “Wind energy installations, Part 11: Sound-measurement methods, acoustics, electroacoustics”; “Standard frequencies for measurements” (retracted), “Octave filters for electroacoustic measurements” (withdrawn).
Once turbines arrive, say goodbye to peace and quiet
I bought my home to reside, because of its semi-secluded, quiet and peaceful nature. There is a river across the road from me and wooded area that surrounds me. I enjoyed listening to the river and birds, which is about all I ever heard, until a wind farm was erected around my property. There is a never-ending, jet-like sound that rips through my property and house. There is nothing natural about the noise that comes from these turbines and they are loud! The peaceful existence I once enjoyed here has been stolen from me!
EDP Renewables and the town of Chateaugay’s Jericho Rise Wind Farm was planted too close to my house. There are four 482-foot turbines approximately 1,800 to 2,600 feet from my home. The industry standard for turbine “setbacks” from residences are ridiculously too close.
Much of the time, sound levels at the west and south side of my home is above the allowable 50 dBA which the town of Chateaugay has deemed to be acceptable and legal. The lower frequency dBC levels for sound, or infrasound, are not even taken into account. According to acoustic engineering experts, dBC sound levels have a much higher pressure rating than dBA readings. This noise is detrimental to human health and is well documented throughout the world. I am living proof. The noise inside and outside of my home is a completely menacing nuisance.
I am not a “naysayer.” I am living with these behemoths that surround my property. In fact, I have been living with wind turbines from an older wind farm approximately 3-4 miles from me for the past 6 1/2 years. About 7 months out of the year, due to leafless trees, I can see 15 of them from my front porch. They really don’t bother me. I can’t say I like them, but I can’t hear them either.
I was never an opponent of wind power. I am a science teacher of 11 years and teach about sound and alternative energies. It is in the state curriculum. I even went to an all day wind power teacher’s workshop to get a better understanding of wind energy eight years ago. The wind industry has been setting us up for a fall a long time ago.
By the way, standing directly underneath a turbine is the quietest place to listen to them. Stand back 500, 1000, 1500 feet and downwind from them, and if you still think they are not loud, then you must be deaf. If anyone would like to come to my home in Chateaugay to get a true experience of what these monsters sound like, you are welcome to visit. A town councilman from a neighboring town was here yesterday and he said, “When I first came inside, it almost sounded louder inside than outside.” Yes, it does. It’s like living inside a drum.
As far as a tax base for your community is concerned, there will be none. They will not pay any business property tax whatsoever. The wind farm company will cram a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) Program down your throat. The county, town and possibly school district will receive a pittance compared to what the wind developer receives in government subsidies. This is how they can afford to build these wind farms.
The absurdity of saying that birds will just fly around the towers is also ridiculous. Birds of prey are looking down to the ground for food, not what’s in front of them. Migratory birds are flying in excess of 40 miles per hour. They do not have the ability to just stop in mid-air and fly around.
Putting “hope and trust” in the wind company is dangerous. I have made many complaints to EDP Renewables and Chateaugay about the nuisance noise. They have been to my house once to take a sound test. It was taken on a day with 2-3 mph wind speeds, and in between my house and garage which blocks all of the south wind. The town engineer said the reading was 38.5 dBA.
Folks, it is not a far stretch from 38.5 dBA to over 50 dBA when the winds are from the west or south in excess of 12 miles per hour. I know, because I have been taking my own sound level readings since Jan. 1. The town and EDP Renewables said they would be taking multiple tests. Two days later, with no notice, town board members popped into my backyard at 9:30 a.m. with a sound meter. I wondered what they were doing here, because it was a legal holiday and again, practically no wind. They acted as though they didn’t realize I was home. They didn’t even knock on my door.
They stated they would be back. Just before they left, one town board member stated, “We wouldn’t want these in our backyard either.” I called the town supervisor later in the day and asked to be notified 24 hours in advance and that I want to be present when these tests were done. They have not been back since. It has been almost two months. I have been lied to and ignored.
During this time, I was introduced to a well credentialed acoustic engineer through a friend. He sent me data on what a proper sound test should include. I have continued to call the EDP Renewable complaint hotline. They were supposed to take more tests last week. I sent EDP Renewables operations manager, town engineer and town supervisor data from the acoustic engineer about what I would be expecting for a proper sound test. I am being ignored once again. So, if anyone thinks that the process of developing a wind farm (before, during or after) is honest and trustworthy, you really should be talking to people that are living in the middle of a wind farm.
Please, do not be fooled by any wind farm company! Also, if you are a non-participating landowner, do not sign their “Neighbor Agreement.” You will lose all your rights (on, under, over, around, etc.) as a property owner. If you have any of the problems I am experiencing right now, you will lose the ability to do or say anything to anyone about it. It is a “gag order” for a very small annual payment.
In closing, I need to say that I gain nothing by writing this. It is only to help those that may be in danger of having to live with a wind farm near their home.
Kevin Sigourney is a resident of Chateaugay, which is located in Franklin County in northern New York.
The human health consequences of manipulated measurements
Guest essay by Helen Schwiesow Parker, PhD, LCP
Like the tobacco industry before it, the wind industry has spent decades vehemently denying known harmful consequences associated with its product, while promoting its fraudulent feel-good image. Dismissing or denying the serious health impacts of industrial-scale wind turbines is wishful thinking, akin to insisting that tobacco is harmless because we enjoy it.
The problem with wind energy is not just its costly, subsidized, unreliable electricity; the need to back up every megawatt with redundant fossil-fuel power; or its impacts on wildlife and their habitats.
Infrasound (inaudible) and low-frequency (audible) noise (slowly vibrating sound waves collectively referred to as ILFN) produced by Industrial-scale Wind Turbines (IWTs) directly and predictably cause adverse human health effects. The sonic radiation tends to be amplified within structures, and sensitivity to the impact of the resonance increases with continuing exposure.
These facts have been known to the wind industry and the US government since the 1980s when it became a ‘hot topic,’ with numerous studies presented and published by acousticians working under grants from the Departments of Energy, Defense and NASA. The wind industry response?
Deny the science. Insist that “what you can’t hear can’t hurt you.” Claim that “neighbors will get used to it.” Measure only outside dwellings, and allow only noise measurements in the field that reflect the relative loudness perceived by the human ear, while drastically reducing sound-level readings in the lower frequencies that are known to cause problems.
From a distance, many view the massive turbines as majestic – as a clean, seemingly quiet and free source of endless energy. To untold thousands of families clustered within 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) or more of the pulsing machines, however, the IWTs bring strangely debilitating illness – increasingly incapacitating for some, yet scoffed at by wind proponents.
Common sense tells us that fifty-story-tall metal structures with blades as long as football fields moving at 180 mph at their tips would negatively impact quiet neighborhoods. But the extent and severity of the IWT’s effect on body, mind and spirit comes as a surprise to most people.
“When I’m at home I’m usually sick with headaches, nausea, vertigo, tinnitus, anxiety, hopelessness, depression. My ears pop a lot and I hardly ever sleep…. Suicide looks to be my only relief. Land of the FREE Home of the BULLSHIT! … Million to one odds anybody contacts me back.”
The primary pathway of turbine assault on human health is no mystery. The Israeli army has used low-frequency sound pulses as high-tech crowd control for years. People are made nauseous and confused, with blurred vision, vertigo, headaches, tachycardia, heightened blood pressure, pain and ringing in the ears, difficulties with memory and concentration, anxiety, depression, irritability, and panic attacks.
This also describes the Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS), a constellation of symptoms first given a name by the brilliant young MD/PhD, Nina Pierpont. She followed her astute and compassionate observations of turbine neighbors around the world with epidemiological research, using a robust case-crossover statistical design: subjects experienced symptoms that varied with proximity to the turbines. When the same subjects were placed at a greater distance from the turbines, their symptoms abated; returning them to the scene brought the symptoms back.
Michigan State University noise engineers explain that “Inaudible components [ILFN] can induce resonant vibration in liquids, gases and solids … bodily tissues and cavities – potentially harmful to humans.” A subject in the groundbreaking Cooper study describes how the resonance shows up in a glass of water on her kitchen table, and in the toilet bowl, and how she feels it in her body.
Pierpont hypothesized that a significant pathway from ILFN to symptoms might include disruption to balance mechanisms located in the inner ear.
Dr. Alec Salt and colleagues, otolaryngologists at Washington University, later found that inaudible ILFN reaches the brain via inner ear Outer Hair Cell (OHC) displacement, leading indeed to unfamiliar and disturbing sensations paralleling WTS.
As turbine size trends upward, the sickening ILFN emissions worsen. There’s a lot of money riding on keeping the science under the radar of public awareness, and regulations to a minimum.
When Denmark’s EPA proposed tightening turbine noise regulations to protect turbine neighbors from increasing ILFN (May 2011), the Vestas CEO wrote the DEPA Minister, asserting: “It simply isn’t technically possible to curtail the ILFN output,” and “Increased distance requirements [setbacks from residences] cannot be met whilst maintaining a satisfactory business outcome for the investor.”’ DEPA folded, turning instead to looser standards that were “likely to be copied by other countries.”
Although alerted to the increased endangerment of turbine neighbors around the world, the press remained silent, and Big Wind’s central players ramped up their game plan undeterred.
In addition to the impact of ILFN radiation, turbine neighbors suffer from Turbine “Flicker” – a strobe-like effect caused by turbine blades alternately blocking and allowing sunlight to skim rhythmically and repeatedly across the land, or ricochet in bursts across interior walls and stairwells.
The direct impact extends to nearly a mile from the turbine – long after sunrise, and again long before sunset. It is mesmerizing, disorienting, and often brings on nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, irritability, even panic, indoors or outside.
Repetitive sleep disturbance and stress-related symptoms are the most common health complaints of IWT neighbors. The audible sound constantly fluctuates, described as akin to low-flying jets or the rumble of helicopters, “freakish, screeching sound sludge.” It is unnatural. People say the noise gets into your head, and you can’t get it out.
Advising the Falmouth, MA Board of Health, Dr. William Hallstein wrote: “All varieties of illnesses are destabilized, secondary to inadequate sleep: diabetic blood sugars, cardiac rhythms, migraines, tissue healing. Psychiatric problems intensify … all in the ‘normal’ brain. Errors in judgment and accident rates increase.”
As with seasickness, not everyone is similarly affected. But for many, the experience becomes literally intolerable. Devastated families and individuals around the world, having lost their health, jobs or farms, return their keys to the bank, sell their homes at fire-sale prices, or simply pack up and flee. Some never recover their health.
(For more details on this human health travesty, see my three-part series on MasterResource.org)
The continuing expansion of Big Wind is a tale of money and power shunting aside integrity and compassion, abetted by a disinterested news media, leading to an un-informed public, further betrayed by “human rights advocates” loathe to break ranks from popular positions.
The myth that “saving the world” requires tolerating the costs of Big Wind could not be further from the truth. Responsible stewardship demands critical thinking, common sense and grade school science, not just following Big Wind’s Pied Piper and supposedly good intentions.
In fact, allowing wind into the energy mix squanders our non-renewable environment and taxpayer billions that are greatly needed elsewhere, wasting them on the most idiotic of engineering conceits.
Reliance on wind actually increases emissions and fossil fuel use overall, due to inefficiencies introduced into the system. Big Wind eliminates none of the need for conventional capacity, but rather consumes vast quantities of additional fuel and raw materials, while spewing emissions during the manufacture, transportation, construction and maintenance of the enormous redundant turbines and their uniquely demanding infrastructure.
The Wind Game is nothing but an obscenely costly, mostly useless energy redundancy scheme. It funnels unimaginable profits from our taxpayer and rate-payer pockets to its inner circle, while knowingly ignoring its victims’ desperate pleas for relief – and indeed ridiculing them and trying to bury all the growing evidence of harm to their health and wellbeing.
We’ve witnessed three decades of this callous, mercenary assault, this arrogant denial of what is known to be true, this untold suffering of thousands of innocent victims around the world. It’s time to bring in the human rights and social justice referees – and call “game over.”
Helen Schwiesow Parker, PhD, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Past Clinical Supervisory Faculty member at the University of Virginia Medical School. Her career includes practical experience in the fields of autism, sensory perception, memory and learning, attention deficit and anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and PTSD.
Wind turbines a government-backed Ponzi scheme
Sunday, March 5, 2017
To the editor:
All you people out there complaining about your hydro prices need to realize some important facts about the Kathleen Wynne government.
- The global adjustment charge on your hydro bill is to pay for the giant industrial wind turbines Wynne has placed all over rural Ontario.
- Wind turbines a useless technology that destroys our rural environment, ruins people’s health and poisons our drinking water aquifers.
- The only reason these turbines were erected was so Liberal insiders and their friends could get filthy rich.
- Wynne will not cancel the turbine projects or reduce the subsidies because the turbine lobbyists know where the political bodies are buried.
- Wynne has taken away the democratic rights of the people for her own financial and political gain.
- Wynne has sacrificed the health of rural citizens just so her friends can get rich.
- In a few year’s time, when it inevitably collapses, this wind turbine scam will be revealed for what it is: An enormous government-backed Ponzi scheme, founded on greed, corruption and stupidity.
West Grey, Ont
What’s on your mind?
Iowa landowners are being presented with a proposal for signing or not signing a wind turbine leasement (a combination of a lease and an easement).
We see different levels of interest – from Royal, Iowa, in Clay County where so few people would sign that the wind companies had to move on, to Palo Alto County where the wind companies have signed 100 easements. We see that half of these easements were signed by absentee landowners and at least one-fourth of them were signed by one farm manager.
Are you curious to know why so many landowners will not sign easements? I have spoken to landowners living in industrial wind energy installations from Adair to Lake Park to Webster City to Primghar. I also have heard from folks in Kansas, Missouri, Vermont and Oklahoma. While you can find people who are pleased with their experience, I have heard statements such as:
• “We had to put in soundproofing windows – it helped some.”
• “If we knew then what we know now, this (wind installation) never would have happened.”
• “We thought we were doing something good; now we just wish we had our farm back.”
There are many landowners who will not speak up publicly about the detriments they experience. Some are embarrassed because they lobbied for the wind companies to come. Some feel that they have signed a gag order, but I have been assured by lawyers that gag orders can be implied but are not legal. You are likely not supposed to speak of their designs, power output or the money you are being paid, but anything else cannot be “gagged.” Even with that information, though, it is hard to oppose a company that has control over – and under – so much of your property. It is a marriage from which you cannot get a divorce.
In wind contracts, the landowner will give up rights to file a claim against noise, vibration, turbulence and shadow flicker. These issues also can affect neighbors up to a mile away. In Ireland, seven families have won a nuisance suit against wind turbines, while in Michigan, Garden Township has just settled with turbine owners over turbine nuisance.
There are many good resources for learning about the downfalls of a wind energy easement. Iowa State University’s Center for Ag Law and Taxation has had great articles and even presentations such as the one given by Roger McEowen in Palo Alto and Clay counties in 2016. There are a series of videos that were made by the Illinois Farm Bureau as well. We have posted one of the videos on our Facebook page.
Iowa landowners such as myself have begun an organization to help educate other landowners. We are the Coalition for Rural Property Rights. Our website is coalitonforruralpropertyrights.com. We are completely grassroots and locally funded.
Concerned About Wind Turbines – Donegal
Irish government modelling of wind energy potential
Today, 16 January 2017, almost four years on from the first public call for submissions on the proposed revision of the 2006 wind energy guidelines, we are sharing information in relation to modelling undertaken by the RPS Group, in 2015, which was commissioned by the Sustainable Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for the then Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources (now the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment) and the then Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (now the department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government).
RPS were commissioned to model Ireland’s land area and power generating potential from wind energy developments, taking into account a number of variable factors including:
- Turbine size, type and hub/tip height;
- Noise and shadow flicker;
- Proposed setback distances;
- Minimum wind speeds;
- Terrain contours; and
- Ground factors.
The background to this modelling was the proposed technical revision to the Wind Energy Development Guidelines 2006. As regular readers of this blog will be aware the proposed technical revision has turned into a political hot potato with no Minister yet willing to stand up to the wind industry, despite the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment declaring that the current guidelines are ‘not fit for purpose’. The proposed Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and further consultation have still not been commenced.
Nevertheless, the discussion in the RPS Group, Report on Wind Turbine Noise Modelling, of 11 May 2015 is startling for most communities, as RPS through consultations with the wind industry expect tip heights of between 150m to 175m to be the norm for future developments, with 200m tip heights being required for some low wind sites. Possible setback distances emerging from the acoustic modelling are also quiet frightening (see copy of table 3.2 below).
Documents, in PDF, we are sharing are:
- Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, note-on-the-spatial-impact-of-the-revisions-to-the-wind-energy-guidelines-undated
- Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, meeting-note-on-setback-modelling-exercise-19-june-2015
Further iterations of the modeling then followed which were also released:
- Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR), iteration-1a-include-setback-from-properties-19-may-2015
- DCENR, iteration-2-45db-include-setback-from-properties-27-may-2015
- DCENR, iteration-3-5-june-2015
- DCENR, iteration-4-include-wind-energy-strategy-no-go-areas-12-june-2015
- DCENR, iteration-5-15-june-2015
- DCENR, iteration-6-see-memo-19-june-2015
- DCENR, iteration-7-13-june-2015.
Please note these documents were shared with us by a friend of this blog, who gained access to them under the Access to Environmental Information Regulations. Access was only granted following a number of Appeals to the Commissioner for Environmental Information; with the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, further delaying release for three months despite the Commissioners decision. We are heartened that the Commissioner in deciding that these documents should be released stated:
In my opinion, it is at least possible that disclosure of the withheld information would help the public to scrutinise the reasons put forward by politicians in delaying this important policy decision. I therefore accept that this public interest argument would favour disclosure now, before a decision is made.
… if disclosure were to lead to a submission being made to the Department which was of such import that it could not be ignored, such a submission would appear to be highly important and very much in the public interest. There is a strong public interest in making the decision [in relation to the revised guidelines] as soon as possible, but there is also a strong public interest in getting it right.
For these reasons I am not persuaded that disclosure would be contrary to the public interest. As that is my conclusion, I must find that refusal to provide access to the withheld information is not justified on this ground.
With the Commissioners words ringing in our ears we are calling on our readers and followers to review, scrutinise and find flaws in the reasons relied upon by your politicians and policy makers.
We are also welcoming guest blogs on this issue and if any of you out there want to provide some much needed technical analysis of these documents and to publish on this blog (or to make a valuable submission to the Minister), please e-mail us at: email@example.com.