Visit Wales Now
Visit Wales and see some dramatic changes to the landscape
Experience the peace and tranquillity of
the Welsh countryside
To experience the sound of a small (76 metre) turbine, click here.
This may take a few seconds to download.
Wind turbines are big machines so they are bound to be
somewhat noisy. The noise from the mechanical gearing system of a turbine can be
quietened to a limited extent. But the major noise nuisance is the
low-frequency, penetrating sound that is emitted when the rotating blades pass
the turbine tower. So far there has been no success in eliminating this
low-frequency noise, and it can continue day and night for extended periods.
Low-frequency noise has been compared to the low thud
of base notes from loud music, or the sound of a helicopter at a distance. This type of noise is sometimes inaudible;
however, because it is ground borne, low-frequency noise tends to be felt
through vibrations, which can resonate with the human body. Some people find
these low- frequency vibrations very disturbing, causing headaches, dizziness and
The distance travelled varies with the wind conditions
and the terrain. Residents living more than a mile away from a wind turbine have
complained of the noise. The low-frequency noise travels further than the
audible noise, up to several miles. For some people this type of penetrating
noise is very disturbing; others feel no effects from low-frequency noise.
Itís a chance youíll have to take as you travel through Wales.
Italian wind farm diary
Gail Mair lives in the hilly landscape of Tuscany,
Each of the 2-megawatt turbines is the G87 model: hub height 78 metres (256 feet); rotor blade 43.5 metres (143 feet); total height 121.5 metres (400 feet).
Gamesa website has this to say about the G87:
Aerodynamic blade tip and
mechanical component design minimize noise emissions. In addition, Gamesa
has developed the Gamesa NRSTM noise control system, which permits
programming the noise emissions according to criteria such as date, time
or wind direction. This achieves the goals of local regulation compliance
as well as maximum production.
a rosy picture. But the reality of turbine noise has been quite different
for Mrs Mair and her husband. In 2007, Mrs Mair kept a diary of her daily
experience of living near a wind turbine. It is a chilling first-hand
account of the effects of wind-turbine noise.
Is the low-frequency noise a health hazard?
Dr Nina Pierpont in the USA has done substantial research into the health hazards caused by wind turbines. Wind Turbine Syndrome is the clinical name she has given to the constellation of symptoms experienced by many (though not all) people who find themselves living near industrial wind turbines: sleep problems (insomnia), headaches, dizziness, unsteadiness, nausea, exhaustion, anxiety, anger, irritability, depression, memory loss, eye problems, problems with concentration and learning, tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
As industrial wind plants proliferate close to peopleís homes and anywhere else people regularly congregate (schools, nursing homes, places of business, etc.), Wind Turbine Syndrome will likely become an industrial plague.
- Click here for more information on wind turbine syndrome and to download a pre-publication copy of Dr. Pierpont's new book on the subject from her website, click here (the copy is in Adobe Acrobat format - 2.85MB).
Other research work done in Portugal, published in May 2007, shows there is a clear health risk to people living near wind turbines to a condition they have called Vibro-Acoustic Disease (VAD). This research suggests prolonged exposure to infrasound and low-frequency noise can result in damage to the brain, heart and lungs.
- Click here to download the research press release (PDF file) and the research work (MS Word file) done so far
In February 2007 a report was published by Barbara J Frey and Peter J Hadden on "Noise radiation from wind turbines installed near homes: effects on health", see www.windturbinenoisehealthhumanrights.com. This report includes an annotated review of the research and related issues, as well as comments from some of the families affected by wind turbines.
The review concludes that a safe buffer zone of at least 2km should exist between family dwellings and industrial wind turbines of up to 2MW installed capacity, with greater separation for a wind turbine greater than 2MW installed capacity.
Click here to download a copy of the report (PDF file, 986KB).
and Hilton Windfarm Action Group) an action group in the northeast of England
near Middlesborough published a report in January
2009 describing many of the risks to the general public from wind turbines
including noise, light
flicker and the growing number of accidents worldwide involving giant turbines
catching fire, shedding blades or parts of blades and throwing large ice lumps.
Click here to download a copy of their report in MSWord format.
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