from: National Wind WatchCredit: 11th December, 2015 – Wind Energy Queensland ~~
The Queensland Government’s own noise expert has warned proposed rules for wind farms in the State could cause public health and environment problems.
Bryan Lyons, spokesman for the community-based Wind Energy Queensland (WEQ) group, said today the warnings were revealed in documents obtained under a Right To Information (RTI) search.
“These documents show that warnings from the Queensland Government’s own noise expert were hidden from the relevant Minister and from the public,” Mr Lyons said.
“The expert report reveals that the proposed Queensland Government Wind Farm Code (version 2) will not protect residents’ health and wellbeing and will not protect their environmental values.
“The documents obtained under RTI also reveal these concerns were not passed on to the Planning Department or the Minister for Planning.”
Mr Lyons said the documents show that, on August 26, the noise expert in the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection provided his superiors with a list of nine points of concern regarding the draft Wind Farm Code.
“Those concerns were not subsequently forwarded from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, who have developed the current draft (version 2) of the Wind Farm Code.
“The concerns raised by the Queensland Government’s own noise expert confirm existing advice that independent noise experts conducting research in this area have already provided to courts, governments, Senate inquiries and community members dealing with wind farm proposals across Queensland.”
Mr Lyons said the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection had withheld the expert report.
“Wind Energy Queensland have previously asked Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to seek advice from her own Government noise expert. It is now clear from these documents that concerns were deliberately withheld by the department of Environment and Heritage Protection. A Senior Official from the Environment and Heritage Protection Department advised the Premier’s Department that they have ‘no fundamental concerns’ with the draft Wind Farm Code.
“However, the advice from the Noise Expert indicates that proposed wind farm standards in Queensland will not protect the health and wellbeing of our communities. It is extremely disturbing that this advice appears to have been kept secret from the Government department developing the Wind Farm Code, kept secret from the Minister for Planning, and kept hidden from the public.
“We are calling on the Deputy Premier to have the noise sections of the Wind Farm Code redrafted by Noise Experts in the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and scrutinised by an independent panel of Noise Experts, with those peer reviews made publicly available.
“This newly-revealed advice from the EHP Noise Expert also affects the recently approved Mt Emerald Wind Farm on the Atherton Tableland in North Queensland,” Mr Lyons said. “We believe the Mt Emerald approval is presently being renegotiated by the applicant, and we call on the Deputy Premier to take this opportunity to immediately amend the approval.”
Mr Lyons said the Government noise expert’s concerns confirm the concerns of residents in the Mt Emerald area that, if developed, the proposed wind farm will harm their community members even if it complies with the conditions of approval.
WEQ is a community-based group formed to ensure better planning of wind farms in Queensland. The communities represented include Dalveen, Crows Nest, Cooranga north (west of Kingaroy) and Mareeba.
Source: National Wind Watch
Author: Tuulivoima-kansalaisyhdistys ry
From the English press release:
Tuulivoima-kansalaisyhdistys (TV-KY) ry – the National Association of Citizens Against Giant Windmills – has recently released an extensive report on the infrasound emissions from wind turbines and their impact on people’s health.
The wind turbines being built in close proximity to residential areas in Finland are the biggest in Europe. Their rotating blades generate low frequency noise and infrasound, i.e. frequent and continuous air pressure pulses that can travel for very long distances.
Low frequency noise refers to frequencies between 20-200 Hz that are audible to the human ear, and infrasound refers to frequencies between 0.1-20 Hz that can’t be picked up by the human ear. Wind power companies, as well as some researchers, have claimed that “infrasound can’t cause adverse health effects as it is inaudible”. Similarly, we could maintain that radiation isn’t harmful as it is beyond sensory perception.
However, in the summer of 2015 the German Max Planck Institute released a study conducted using a new kind of measurement technology. Contrary to the well-established view, the study showed that the alarm mechanisms of the human brain are sensitive to very low infrasound that is below the hearing threshold.
The need for a survey conducted by the TV-KY Association arose when a growing number of residents in areas located near wind farms started to report health problems, some of which were serious. The measurements showed that the rapidly changing low frequency noise and infrasound caused by wind turbines can indeed be measured inside Finnish homes. Low frequencies permeate the structures of buildings and they can be disturbingly distinguishable from background noise, particularly indoors. Infrasound, on the other hand, can’t be picked up by the human ear, but the residents complain over a great number of symptoms, some of which are serious. The emergence and degree of problems depend on the strength and length of exposure.
In Finland, large scale wind farms have only been constructed for a few years. We don’t yet have any records of the number of people who have had health problems caused by the infrasound emissions of wind turbines. For this report, we interviewed 12 Finnish families who live in close proximity to giant wind turbines in Finland, and we collected the experiences of 55 people concerning the health impacts of industrial wind power production. Out of these 55 people, 33 suffer from sleep disturbances, 26 from ear problems, 23 from headache, 17 from nausea, 11 from heart problems and 11 from inertia.
In addition to infrasound emissions, the audible low frequency noise of the up to 230 m tall wind turbines is directed with force horizontally away from the rotating blades, both downwind and against the wind. The massive air pressure pulse, generated by the blades, that varies with 1-2 seconds intervals, produces low frequency noise that isn’t actually directed at the foot of the wind turbine or on the side.
This partly explains why the interviewed residents in areas that are close to wind farms don’t react identically to wind turbine noise, which is at its worst during night time.
In our measurements, we used a microbarometer, an exceedingly accurate instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure. The measurements were carried out in homes that had reported adverse health effects caused by wind turbines. The report presents the noise measurements carried out inside the homes of some families interviewed in the survey. The infrasound emissions from wind turbines were clearly perceivable.
The report describes what types of well-known health problems are caused by infrasound and what kind of mechanisms are involved. In addition to this, the report contains basic information on the infrasound emissions of wind turbines and on how those emissions can be measured.
Download original document (in Finnish): “Tuulivoimaloiden infraäänen aiheuttama terveysongelma Suomessa”