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« They don't like Mondays | Main | Northern hemisphere temperatures and a finite number of 'monkeys' »
Sunday
Nov042012

Ill wind

A peer reviewed paper has claimed for the first time that wind turbines can detrimentally affect the sleep patterns of people living nearby. According to Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph:

American and British researchers compared two groups of residents in the US state of Maine. One group lived within a mile of a wind farm and the second group did not.

The findings provide the clearest evidence yet to support long-standing complaints from people living near turbines that the sound from their rotating blades disrupts sleep patterns and causes stress-related conditions.

Both sets of people were demographically and socially similar, but the researchers found major differences in the quality of sleep the two groups enjoyed.

This presumably opens the way for damages claims against windfarm investors.

The study will be used by critics of wind power to argue against new turbines being built near homes and for existing ones to be switched off or have their speed reduced, when strong winds cause their noise to increase.

The researchers used two standard scientific scales, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, which measures the quality of night-time sleep, and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which measures how sleepy people feel when they are awake.

“Participants living near industrial wind turbines had worse sleep, as evidenced by significantly greater mean PSQI and ESS scores,” the researchers, Michael Nissenbaum, Jeffery Aramini and Chris Hanning, found.

“There were clear and significant dose-response relationships, with the effect diminishing with increasing log-distance from turbines.”

The researchers also tracked respondents’ “mental component scores” and found a “significant” link – probably caused by poor-quality sleep – between wind turbines and poorer mental health.

More than a quarter of participants in the group living near the turbines said they had been medically diagnosed with depression or anxiety since the wind farm started. None of the participants in the group further away reported such problems.

Each person was also asked if they had been prescribed sleeping pills. More than a quarter of those living near the wind farm said they had. Less than a tenth of those living further away had been prescribed sleeping pills.

According to the researchers, the study, in the journal Noise and Health, is the first to show clear relationships between wind farms and “important clinical indicators of health, including sleep quality, daytime sleepiness and mental health”.

Unlike some common forms of sleep-disturbing noise, such as roads, wind turbine noise varies dramatically, depending on the wind direction and speed. Unlike other forms of variable noise, however, such as railways and aircraft, it can continue for very long

periods at a time. The nature of the noise — a rhythmic beating or swooshing of the blades — is also disturbing. UK planning guidance allows a night-time noise level from wind farms of 42 decibels – equivalent to the hum made by a fridge.

This means that turbines cannot be built less than 380-550 yards from human habitation, with the exact distance depending on the terrain and the size of the turbines.

However, as local concern about wind farm noise grows, many councils are now drawing up far wider cordons. Wiltshire, for instance, has recently voted to adopt minimum distances of between 0.6 to 1.8 miles, depending on the size of the turbines.

Dr Lee Moroney, director of planning at the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: “The UK noise limits were drawn up 16 years ago, when wind turbines were less than half the current size. Worse still, the guidelines permit turbines to be built so close to houses that wind turbine noise will not infrequently be clearly audible indoors at night time, so sleep impacts and associated health effects are almost inevitable.

“This situation is obviously unacceptable and creating a lot of angry neighbours, but the industry and government response is slow and very reluctant. Ministers need to light a fire under their civil servants.”

The research will add to the growing pressure on the wind farm industry, which was attacked last week by the junior energy minister, John Hayes, for the way in which turbines have been “peppered around the country without due regard for the interests of the local community or their wishes”. Saying “enough is enough”, Mr Hayes appeared to support a moratorium on new developments beyond those already in the pipeline.

He was slapped down by his Lib Dem boss, Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, but is unlikely to have made his remarks without some kind of nod from the top of Government. George Osborne, the Chancellor, is known to be increasingly sceptical about the effectiveness of wind power, which is heavily subsidised but delivers relatively little reduction in carbon dioxide.

Wind farms generate about a quarter of their theoretical capacity because the wind does not always blow at the required speeds. Earlier this year, more than 100 Tory MPs urged David Cameron to block the further expansion of wind power.

Whatever the Government decides, however, may not matter.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the EU will shortly begin work on a new directive which may impose a binding target for further renewable energy, mostly wind, on the UK. There is already a target, which is also Government policy, that 20 per cent of energy should come from renewables by 2020.

But Brussels is considering imposing an even higher mandatory target to be met over the following decade, according to Gunther Oettinger, the EU energy commissioner. “I want an interesting discussion on binding targets for renewables by 2030,” he said earlier this year.

Two weeks ago, a senior member of his staff, Jasmin Battista, said that Mr Oettinger was “open to” forced targets, though no decision had been made.

The European Parliament has voted for mandatory increases in renewables by 2030 and Mr Davey has also said he favours them. The issue will be considered at a European Council of Ministers meeting next month.

29 comments

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  • The remedy and answer is very simple....Just stop all subsides and therefore  make the windfarm owners make a living from their "business" like most other commercial enterprises have to.....The landscape of Europe would soon be dotted with rusting metal.

  • Amazing how an article that claims a study is peer reviewed, not necessarily peer accepted, comes with absolutely no references. Is this church? Do we get assertions on faith?

  • I hope these setbacks can also be applied to dogs, cattle, sheep and passing airplanes and cars, as it is possible to obsess over any unwanted sound. Cattle and dogs should be outlawed in the country because they are loud and annoying. 

  • This is a flawed study by long-time anti-wind lobbyists that mistakes correlation for causation published in a third-rate journal and 'peer-reviewed' by professional anti-wind testifiers. Hardly a smoking gun, more like a dribbling water pistol.

    http://www.quora.com/Wind-Powe...

  • It appears Mr Barnard that you are in the minority on this board.  Why would this study done by multinational experts in various fields, including epidemiology, not be as valid as the ones that are several years old and put out by the wind industry?

  • Even if this is true which is doubtful it can easily be remedied by putting a minimum distance between residebtial properties and wind turbines. As it's perfectly possible to build turbines offshore this is not a problem.

  • This problem is so simple to cure.  Windfarm companies must be contracted to provide a specified amount of power in a  specified period.  If the windfarm produces less than the amount then it is to be removed and the environment returned to its pre-windfarm state at the cost of the windfarm company.  This to include removal of any roads or power lines, removal of any bases (concrete, tarmac or other) and of course removal of the windmills.

    So as we are assured that windfarms will provide the power for (n) houses - this should not be an impost as all windfarms are completely efficient.

  • I like your idea nautonnier.  If wind turbines don't perform at the levels that the wind industry says they will, shut them down and get rid of them.
    And as we all know, they don't perform anywhere near what the wind companies tell us they will.   

  • Another good reason for leaving the EU. The sands are shifting under the foundations of this overhyped and over subsidised scam. Thank you Andrew Gilligan for once again speaking the truth.

  • Never mind the noise from wind turbines, it's the gormless wittering of the greenies that is damaging my mental health; subsidies do not create jobs you deluded cretins, subsidies destroy jobs.

  • Oh here we go; the trolls are creeping out from under bridges to decry the report; no interest in people suffering or having to move from their homes around the world; no research done on the subject; no sense - just an ability to write rubbish everyone's heard over and over and which is now extremely boring

  • But Mary, you do not understand!  We are expendable so that the greens may achieve their goal of becoming Ubermenschen who decide the inevitable triumph of manifest socialist destiny in accordance with their master plan crafted by master debaters.  

    For instance, if you have more than two children, those over that number must be donated for medical experiments and for erecting new wind towers at Camp Happy Happy Joy Joy.

    Do not worry, They will be so happy. They will be equipped with Happy Helmets.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • jack scht.  You do need your medication now, dear chap.  You have obviously not been subject to the noise of a wind turdbine which, as has been proven by many victims in this country and around the world, can and does cause serious health problems. 

  • Sleep deprivation is a popular method of torture used by unscrupulous governments. Usually, this is carried out on terrorists or subversives in the guise of "national security".

    Unfortunately, it is also carried out on law abiding citizens who just happen to live in the wrong place...

  • Lets hope they don't live by the sea, the noise of that used to drive me up the wall.  And whatever you do never go to Africa or Australia, the non stop sound of crickets is suicidal. Never live in a city the sound of traffic and especially the sirens of cops is a murder waiting to happen.  Whenever I visit my mum in the country I just want to kill every owl that has ever lived. Ear plugs anybody.

  • BlueScreenOfDeath

    Yesterday 10:09 PM

    " the noise of that used to drive me up the wall. "

    I doubt it.

    I think you were probably up the wall to start with.

  • That is exactly the point, people obsess over something they don't like, and make themselves loose sleep over it. The sound of wind turbines are no worse than other common sounds. When people share in the profits from turbines, almost no one is bothered. Isn't that interesting? Ownership (and Money) a Cure for NIMBY

  • Take another sip of your anti psychotic medication!

  • Try therapy Jack (or earplugs)

    PS, this is cynical, to avoid confusion :(

    .

  • This is why there is rage in the countryside. A big public health scandal in the making. The industry and the Government have tried to keep a lid on this, now they will have to get their cheque books out!

    (Edited by author 9 hours ago)

  • Not to mention the most beautiful countryside in the world blighted by these things.

    And where does the Country landowners Association (CLA) stand on this?

    You know, the people that got us all out protesting against restrictions on fox hunting on the grounds that they were protecting the countryside and the rural way of life?

    Well, the CLA can help our countryside conscious landowners with their applications for windfarms and the grnts that go with them.

    Preservation of the country, or preservation of their bank balances?

    .

  • Packs of dogs barking all night are far worse than wind turbines.

  • BlueScreenOfDeath

    Yesterday 10:08 PM

    "And where does the Country landowners Association (CLA) stand on this?"

    Laughing all the way to the bank, if "Sir" Reg Sheffield is anything to go by.

  • Considering wind is almost ntirely tax payer subsidised, that's us again then.

    Why do we put up with this? Why do we allow them to get away with this utter crock?

  •  Renewables payed back 7 billion Euros last year; making money explains why people like wind power. No water use and no pollution of air or water are more reasons.  Getting poisoned by coal use and paying extra for it is really hard to find an advantage for.

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Reader Comments (73)

But read to the end of the Telegraph article:
"The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the EU will shortly begin work on a new directive which may impose a binding target for further renewable energy, mostly wind, on the UK. There is already a target, which is also Government policy, that 20 per cent of energy should come from renewables by 2020.

But Brussels is considering imposing an even higher mandatory target to be met over the following decade, according to Gunther Oettinger, the EU energy commissioner. “I want an interesting discussion on binding targets for renewables by 2030,” he said earlier this year.

Two weeks ago, a senior member of his staff, Jasmin Battista, said that Mr Oettinger was “open to” forced targets, though no decision had been made.

The European Parliament has voted for mandatory increases in renewables by 2030 and Mr Davey has also said he favours them. The issue will be considered at a European Council of Ministers meeting next month. "

Just who is this Oettinger guy that he commands such sway over what the UK can do?

Nov 4, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Merkel thinks that the eurocrisis will continue for at least five more years. It's completely idiotic to even dream about pushing higher targets while the whole Europe is struggling.

If the EU energy commissioner would have even a bit of a clue of realities, he'd lay low until the economy recovers and only then start talking about higher targets for 2030. By doing this at the worst time imaginable, he'll has nothing to win but everything to lose. He's drawing a lot of attention to the current huge subsidies and costs and practically begging for politicians to slash them.

When the higher targets will be discussed, there will be a huge political fight against them and I bet Oettinger will lose. Even if the politicians loved the renewables, they know that we can't afford them at this point.

Nov 4, 2012 at 8:35 AM | Registered CommenterVieras

Oettinger clearly thinks he is the 'Energy Minister of the United States of Europe' in reality he is a dellusional fool. Only national parliaments have the power he dreams of and the Climate Change Act is an example of the idiotic legislation that can result if the politicians keep the keys of the asylum to the activists.

Nov 4, 2012 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Well this is Mr Oettinger:
http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/oettinger/contact/myteam/index_en.htm

He's a lwayer. No first-hand experience of the power industry whatsoever. He's got a retinue of 21 assistants, and two drivers

His personal assistant, with a renewables brief, is Jasmin Battista. She's a lawyer:
http://www.concurrences.com/auteur/battista

Eric Mamer is in charge of planning. He used to work for Neil Kinnock . . .

And so it goes on. They have lots of conferences though, so obviously they're really thinking this through.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Dr Chris Hanning is this country's leading expert on sleep disorder. He gives evidence at wind farm public inquiries, but his evidence is ignored by Planning Inspectors because the Government has decreed that wind turbines don't cause sleep disorder and ensuing health problems. Maybe this latest peer-reviewd paper will gain some traction, but I doubt it. The Government is so besotted with renewable energy targets that the health and well-being of a few thousand ordinary people around the country is of no concern to them.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Capell, it's the "I want" that is most telling in what Gunther Oettinger says - very evidential of the undemocratic bureaucracy of the EU. How does he know what 'we' want? Has he asked us? Of course not. It just the continued, blind, man-hating environmentalism that wants to impose as much suffering on Joe Public as possible. Just look at the misery the Australian Carbon [dioxide] Tax is wreaking, and for what?

I fully expect the UK wind industry to dismiss this US study as "not applicable", and as Phillip Bratby says, planning overrules health issues. You can almost hear the echoes of Winston Churchill, "never in the course of..." being cited by RUK.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterilma630

Disgruntled householders affected by turbine noise must not of course, consider deploying Lyle Guns.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

The evidence that wind turbines cause sleep disorders and health problems seems fairly clear. I posted an article about Fullabrooke on this topic on the Lost Horizons thread, and I have read plenty of other cases from NZ, Australia and the USA

Yet, as Phillip says, the government just seem to ignore it.

Furthermore, I think that we are more sensitive to noise at night time. A lot of the propaganda around this issue looks at the daytime noise. However, I know from my personal experience of a neighbours noisy heatpump that noise at night can make sleep impossible yet during the day you can be unaware of the noise.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

As I said above, Dr Chris Hanning is the country's leading expert. He doesn't have a dog in the fight; his only concern is for people's health.

Here is information about him:

Honorary Consultant in Sleep Disorders Medicine to the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, based at Leicester General Hospital, having retired in September 2007 as Consultant in Sleep Disorders Medicine. In 1969, I obtained a First class Honours BSc in Physiology and, in 1972, qualified in medicine, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP from St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School. After initial training in anaesthesia, I became a Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists by examination in 1976 and was awarded a doctorate from the University of Leicester in 1996. I was appointed Senior Lecturer in Anaesthesia and Honorary Consultant Anaesthetist to Leicester General Hospital in 1981. In 1996, I was appointed Consultant Anaesthetist with a special interest in Sleep Medicine to Leicester General Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer to the University of Leicester.

My interest in sleep and its disorders began over 30 years ago and has grown ever since. I founded and ran the Leicester Sleep Disorders Service, one of the longest standing and largest services in the country, until retirement. The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust named the Sleep Laboratory after me as a mark of its esteem. I was a founder member and President of the British Sleep Society and its honorary secretary for four years and have written and lectured extensively on sleep and its disorders and continue to be involved in research. My expertise in this field has been accepted by the civil, criminal and family courts. I have been accepted as an expert on sleep disturbance related to wind turbine noise by the Ontario High Court and Environmental Review Tribunals. I chaired the Advisory panel of the SOMNIA study and sit on the Advisory panel for the Medicated Sleep and Wakefulness study, both major projects investigating sleep quality in the elderly, and sit on Advisory panels for several companies with interests in sleep medicine. I am an Associate Member of the general Medical Council, chairing Investigation Committee hearings. In 2010, I was invited to join the Board of the Society for Wind Vigilance.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:52 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

This study, protests from conservative backbenchers and the recent utterance of John Hayes serve only to drive the mills offshore and into the open arms of higher subsidies.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_deprivation

Depriving someone of sleep is torture and is therefore a breach of their human rights.

Take the turbines down and reinstall them all offshore .Let the Salt Water attack them.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

' “I want an interesting discussion on binding targets for renewables by 2030,” he [Oettinger] said earlier this year. '

Presumably this is the reason Cameron recently said there would 'have to be' a discussion about post-2020 renewables in Parliament. Just passing on the orders, as usual.

Nov 4, 2012 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Booker has a swipe at wind farms (and the EU) here

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9652761/Europe-and-wind-at-last-the-consensus-is-cracking.html#disqus_thread

and if anyone wants to email John Davey by way of encouragement he can be found here, it seems

sthhollanddeepings@btopenworld.com

Nov 4, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

The original report can be freely downloaded from this site:
http://www.windaction.org/documents/36418

Direct link for the pdf:
http://www.windaction.org/?module=uploads&func=download&fileId=2328

Nov 4, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeterF

I think my wife is also an expert in night-time wind noise disorder ;-)

Nov 4, 2012 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterHyperthermania

Oettinger:

King Arthur: I am your king.
Woman: Well I didn't vote for you.
King Arthur: You don't vote for kings.
Woman: Well how'd you become king then?
[Angelic music plays... ]
King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.
Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

Nov 4, 2012 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

The interesting thing about the Elf & Safety culture is the way it doesn't get applied to any activity that is sufficiently PC.

Nov 4, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

The other key problem is that the intestinal viscera resonate at between 5 and 9 Hz. this is what kills sheep and goats near wind farms.It also introduces stress hormones into susceptible humans.

It can occur in homes up to a mile away by resonance. If you habitually sit in a node you can die.

Nov 4, 2012 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Philip, was the paper "peer reviewed"? It was presented in 2011, see http://www.windaction.org/documents/33057

The trouble I have is that the sample size was small (38 + 41 controls) and the participants are likely to be self-selected. The study asked at door or called by phone, but those not bothered by the windfarm might be unlikely to bother with the survey. And the number of houses nearby is really quite small (take a lok at the maps). Also I know from experience with Mrs Bucket that once some people get it in their minds that something is stopping them sleep, no logic will convince them that it is not. Mrs B, for example, insists on a bedroom that is absolutely blacked-out.

For those interested, take a look at the two wind farms studied (Google Maps links below). The local houses are clear at the north end of the Mars Hill site, but not so clear at the other.

https://maps.google.com/?ll=44.094035,-68.865716&spn=0.007474,0.010761&t=h&z=17
https://maps.google.com/?ll=46.566016,-67.808111&spn=0.01431,0.021522&t=h&z=16

Nov 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BB:

The paper was first presented as preliminary last year:
Nissenbaum M, Aramini J, Hanning C. 2011. Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines: a preliminary report. Proceedings of 10th International Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem (ICBEN) 2011, London, UK.
I believe that it has been peer-reviewed (it was undergoing peer review in May this year) as it is now published in the Noise and Health Journal. It can be downloaded here http://www.scribd.com/doc/111492526/Effects-of-Industiral-Wind-Turbine-Noise-on-Sleep-and-Health-Nissenbaum-Aramini-Hanning
From talking to Dr Hanning, the study was performed using standard clinical trials methodology.

Nov 4, 2012 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

This is going to "have legs".
The Government is supposed to defer to the IPCC becuse it looks a peer-reviewed papers.
Well this ione s going to support Dr. Hanning who recently wrote about this in the BMJ.
BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1527 (Published 8 March 2012)

Jamspid also has a very good point
"Depriving someone of sleep is torture and is therefore a breach of their human rights."
The Government ignores this at its peril.

Is this the beginning of the end for onshore bird-shredders and sleep deprivers?

Nov 4, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

AlecM: I think that somebody has been winding you up. I majored in applied pathology and have been involved in hundreds of autopsies. I have never seen or heard of a human or animal being resonated to death.

Nov 4, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Will no one think of the bats?

If wind turbine noise disturbs the sleep patterns of homo sapiens, what does it do to the life experience of other species, especially those with more acute hearing?

Hint... ecofundies may respond more readily to allegations of culpability in small furry/feathered animal abuse

Nov 4, 2012 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterGras Albert

Although it doesn't really solve the noise problem (although come to think of it, it might) I did rather like this comment by nautonnier on the Telegraph article

"This problem is so simple to cure. Windfarm companies must be contracted to provide a specified amount of power in a specified period. If the windfarm produces less than the amount then it is to be removed and the environment returned to its pre-windfarm state at the cost of the windfarm company. This to include removal of any roads or power lines, removal of any bases (concrete, tarmac or other) and of course removal of the windmills."

Nov 4, 2012 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

"If the windfarm produces less than the amount then it is to be removed and the environment returned to its pre-windfarm state at the cost of the windfarm company. This to include removal of any roads or power lines, removal of any bases (concrete, tarmac or other) and of course removal of the windmills."

The immediate response of any company faced with that requirement would be to go bankrupt. How do you handle that?

Nov 4, 2012 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Messenger's idea could be adapted so that the wind co has to provide a bond for complete decommissioning of the farm at the end of its service life - much like the obligation placed on the nuclear industry. It would avoid scenarios of derelict turbines like those in California and Hawai.

Nov 4, 2012 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

@Dodgy Geezer- exactly!!
I for one would cheer loudly.
But not at night, so as to disturb peoples' sleep.

Nov 4, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Do not feed the Troll

Nov 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Dodgy Geezer: one would hope that the wind company would think twice or three times before entering into the contract in the first place.

Nov 4, 2012 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Salopian: have you read The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers?

Nov 4, 2012 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Phillip Bratby: "From talking to Dr Hanning, the study was performed using standard clinical trials methodology."

Is that so? Clinical trials of drugs are usually 'blind' with neither the subjects nor the researchers knowing who is receiving a treatment. That is clearly not the case in this study, where the researchers know exactly who to contact and where they live and the subjects knowing the turbines intimately (and they only got about half of the nearby residents to take part, so as I said, their subjects are self-selected). Maybe psychological clinical trials are organised differently from drug trials.

A better trial would be to take random people to a location and monitor their sleep patterns with and without turbine activity, with the turbines controlled by disinterested parties. A bit weather dependent but it should be possible.

Nov 4, 2012 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

..Dodgy Geezer: one would hope that the wind company would think twice or three times before entering into the contract in the first place...

Hmm... I suppose that an ethical company who only wished to assist the public might think that way. However, if I were running the company as part of Dodgy Enterprises Ltd, my only interest would be to obtain the guaranteed start-up profit that the government has kindly awarded me from your taxes for as long as possible.

My reading of the business model would lead me to believe that this level of subsidy could not be maintained, so I would have charged for engineering infrastructure at high rates, but only installed the minimum specification to ensure that the windmills stay up for, say, 5 years. All the money flowing into the company would not go to pay for maintenance, but would be transferred rapidly out of the country to somewhere untraceable. And if, by some miracle, everything was still operational after 5 years, I would probably sell the company at well over the odds, because the P/E ratio would be so attractive if I counted in the subsidy.

Wouldn't everyone?

Nov 4, 2012 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

@Messenger: Yes I can remember the TV adaptation with Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey, but it was 1930's fiction, not fact.

Nov 4, 2012 at 6:23 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Politics being totally daft, objections to windmills on the basis of noise might have legs. Never mind the costs of the subsidies and the mortality from the hyperthermia suffered by those who can’t afford electricity priced to pay for them.

And, Bishop, you may well be right about claims for damages. But the rational observer might think that such claims were as daft as the politics. What about motor-bikes at night and Heathrow? And also daft because a report equal and opposite to the one we now discuss could be created in short order by examination of a different cherry-picked set of neighbours of windmills. So I would not necessarily expect the outcome of any court proceedings to be certain and there would, I suppose, be appeals - no doubt to the greater satisfaction of rapacious lawyers Yes –daft.

Nov 4, 2012 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

salopian: it's the stres hormones which do the damage.

Infrasound has been well researched as a crowd control weapon.

Nov 4, 2012 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

I hear of cases where homes in the US have been abandoned due to turbine noise. The lucky ones get paid out by the wind developer, usually with a gagging order applied.

Nov 4, 2012 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy scrase

The pain in Maine mauls mainly on the brain.

Nov 4, 2012 at 8:53 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

When will this utterly misguided stupidity stop? Our taxes are being wasted on this ridiculous idea. It is all predicated on the idiotic idea that CO2 is killing the planet.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered Commentertckev

AlecM: "salopian: it's the stres hormones which do the damage. Infrasound has been well researched as a crowd control weapon." Please, give it a rest, there is no evidence of resonance/infrasound can cause life-threatening health effects. And your claim that "If you habitually sit in a node you can die.", is pure fantasy.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian:

I majored in applied pathology and have been involved in hundreds of autopsies. I have never seen or heard of a human or animal being resonated to death.

I think you'll find that your expertise means nothing because back radiation doesn't exist. That was a feeble joke by the way. Thanks for sharing. I resonated with your answers so I'm obviously in mortal danger.

Nov 4, 2012 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Actually, I think you'll find that "If you habitually sit in a node you can die." is, strictly speaking, true. It is just that "If you habitually sit away from a node you can die." is also true ;-)

Nov 4, 2012 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

lyle guns:

http://www.nps.gov/spar/historyculture/david-lyle.htm

I advise investment in the companies that make the lines. They will be just as good for use on lampposts.

Nov 5, 2012 at 2:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterjollyfarmer

The article can be found here, not behind a paywall.

http://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2012;volume=14;issue=60;spage=237;epage=243;aulast=Nissenbaum

"A questionnaire was offered to all residents meeting the participant-inclusion criteria and living within 1.5 km of an industrial wind turbine (IWT) and to a random sample of residents, meeting participant inclusion criteria, living 3 to 7 km from an IWT between March and July of 2010."

Did they eliminate the possibility of selection bias? Of course not.

What they need to do is have residents keep a journal of NIGHTLY sleep quality and compare that with the amount of noise put out by the wind farm on the same night. Then you have a direct comparison between noise and sleep within a single group of people. (You look closely at nights when the wind speed varies significantly to see if the sleep record is biased by what residents expected based on conditions in the early evening rather than the conditions that were actually experienced.)

Nov 5, 2012 at 2:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

"Actually, I think you'll find that "If you habitually sit in a node you can die." is, strictly speaking, true. It is just that "If you habitually sit away from a node you can die." is also true ;-)"
Spot on BB but, and I address this to Frank as well, why do we need peer-reviewed pontifications that noise may disturb sleep-patterns or not?
Despite our differences are we not all pretty-well identical when it comes down to physiological matters.
Don't we regularly put out the lights, switch off the TV or radio before we settle down to sleep?
Why are we even arguing about this?

Nov 5, 2012 at 2:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

How is NY sustainable expanded and extended "Earth Week" comming along?
Noo fuel or electricity is sustainable, isn't it?

Nov 5, 2012 at 3:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJon

Are you disillusioned by rising electricity prices, over dependence on the “green” dream [especially uneconomical and inefficient wind farms] and the destruction of our countryside then please object to the Government at

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22958

or by GOOGLING “E-PETITION 22958″ and following the link.

Please pass this message on to Councillors, members of your community and anyone else you know to persuade them to sign up too.

Nov 5, 2012 at 4:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Ramsbotham

I find it strange that the burden of proof seems to be falling where it does...

As Bitbucket well knows, if these contraptions where not perceived to save some carbon emission, the greenies/twitchers would be all over them with the effects on humans/animals (the fact that the RSPB supports them shows how ridiculous the greenies can be)

All I will do is highlight Helicopters. People have become immune to planes, but a helicopter still strongly effects people when in hearing proximity to the sound of the blades. And it is mostly a pretty disturbing experience.

So even without all the perceived bias of those sited near wind turbines, I believe that there is certainly a disturbance to the human metabolism to continuous, relatively low frequency high energy sound.

To give the benefit of doubt to there being no effect is quite frankly/bitbucketly disingenuous.

Nov 5, 2012 at 6:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Another video (in German) that mentions the noise issue

link

Health warning, this video features Franny Armstrong

Nov 5, 2012 at 6:50 AM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

Mike Jackson...most eloquent!

Nov 5, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Excellent, we just have to plead insanity.

Nov 5, 2012 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

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