Oblivious to health risks
PUBLISHED: 11:46 01 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:45 11 May 2010
YOUR correspondent - seduced by the prospect of majestic wind turbines - seems oblivious to the real threat to health posed by these vast industrial structures. In a paper endorsed by more than 100 university professors in Germany, the German experience
YOUR correspondent - seduced by the prospect of "majestic" wind turbines - seems oblivious to the real threat to health posed by these vast industrial structures.
In a paper endorsed by more than 100 university professors in Germany, the German experience with wind turbines is described in graphic terms:
"More people are describing their lives as unbearable when they are directly exposed to the acoustic and optical effects of wind farms.
"There are reports of people being signed-off sick and unfit for work, there is a growing number of complaints about symptoms such as pulse irregularities and states of anxiety, which are known to be from the effects of infrasound (sound frequencies below the normal audible limit)."
These problems are widespread. In addition to Germany, health-related effects from on-shore wind farms are being reported in Denmark, France, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
Closer to home, a study of people living near a wind farm in Cornwall found that 93 per cent of those questioned found "their lives had been affected adversely".
Symptoms reported included headaches, tinnitus, sleep problems, stress, anxiety and depression.
Even the promoters of wind-energy seem to agree. Both the European and British Wind Energy Associations, in their Best Practice Guidelines, state that: "Wind turbines should not be located so close to domestic dwellings that they unreasonably affect the amenity of such properties through noise, shadow flicker, visual dominance, or reflected light."
So if wind turbines should not be sited close to where people live, where should they be put?
The answer seems obvious. More than 70 per cent of our planet's surface is water and we live on an island with 11,000 miles of coastline.
Wind streams are stronger and more reliable offshore and health-concerns would simply not be a factor.
The only logical place to site wind farms is offshore, not onshore.
If you do not live near the proposed wind farm, should you worry about the health implications?
The answer is yes. Evidence shows that where one application is approved, many more follow, and before you know it you may be a lot closer to a wind turbine than you ever imagined was possible.