Library filed under Impact on People from Ireland
Minister faces backlash from protesters who want 500m distance from homes changed to 2km
A County Down man has said his home will be ringed by wind turbines if a council approves all the applications it has before it. Bert Spiers, from Ballyhalbert, will have three in a field behind his house and two others to the side and front if the applications are all passed.
'We would never consider placing commercial wind turbines close to an urban setting but we are willing to place them close to rural homes and as far as I am concerned, this is unacceptable. It is well documented recently in the media that there are serious health concerns with regarding to wind turbines.
Prof Evans, recently wrote a report pointing to ‘serious adverse health effects associated with noise pollution generated by wind turbines’. The risks were due to sleep disturbance and deprivation with loud noise being one of the main causes.
Edward ‘Ned’ Buckley had agreed to a single turbine being erected on adjacent land as part of an overall €30m development of 22 wind turbines by Kilkenny–based Ecopower Developments Ltd. However, he was shocked to discover a subsequent planning application sought provision for a 75m road across his land. ...Mr Buckley conceded that he had signed a document facilitating access but said he later withdrew consent before any decision had been made.
In May 2013 the Supreme Court of Justice of Portugal decided that the remaining 3 turbines had to be removed from the vicinity of Mr. R’s property. The lower court had ordered the removal of the closest turbine but allowed the other three to stay, hence the appeal to the Supreme Court. The developer is apparently appealing the decision to the European Court. ...A bittersweet victory given that Mr R’s health is ruined and the family’s way of life destroyed. Money cannot fix that sort of damage. From a legal point of view what is important is that the courts, including the Supreme Court, accepted the expert evidence of the authors of this paper concerning the terrible toll that infrasound and low-frequency noise has on both humans and animals, whilst it rejected the opposing evidence led by the wind industry lawyers.
Those living near the existing two wind turbines in Beallough highlighted the increased noise levels as well as the visual impact which a third turbine would create. Residents claim they have been “condemned to a life of misery and noise by the powers that be” through the granting of permission for a third wind turbine.
Dr Alun Evans of Queen’s University Belfast writes that a review of 18 wind turbine health studies concluded that all showed good evidence of causing human distress. Irish planning guidelines for wind energy development are based on the UK’s which are nearly two decades old and relate to the small turbines of that era. Today’s wind turbines are massive and noisier so a 500 metre setback from dwellings is woefully inadequate.
It is understood he has tabled a series of changes to the planning guidelines which would see a dramatic increase beyond the current set-back of 500 meters between wind turbines and private homes.
Prof Evans said the construction of wind turbines in Ireland “is being sanctioned too close to human habitation. Because of its impulsive, intrusive, and sometimes incessant nature, the noise generated by wind turbines is particularly likely to disturb sleep."
While the crashing to earth of turbines might have damaged wind energy’s image, opposition is much more deep-seated and points to environmental, societal and health impacts and questions the economic benefits, writes Noel Baker.
Cllr Pat Nugent told a meeting of Lismore-Dungarvan Municipal District Council that householders, some 1.2km from the site, had recorded noise levels above 75 decibels, almost twice those permitted under planning regulations.
An engineer has alleged a “fundamentally unfair” planning procedure has been adopted for a proposed wind farm development in Co Meath which he fears will adversely impact on the environment and health and development of his autistic son.
Alun Evans, Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology in Queens University, Belfast said it was “quite possible” if the Dublin array, a proposed €2 billion project which would see 145 wind turbines constructed 10km off the east coast, goes ahead that up to two million people could be exposed to infrasound, a “sizeable minority” of who could potentially experience sleep disturbance.
The demonstrators accused the Government of failing to listen and engage sincerely with the communities affected by “flawed energy policies” which, they said, had the potential to damage the natural landscape as well as people’s health.
One of the most senior doctors in the Department of Health has warned the Department of the Environment that people at risk of the controversial wind turbine syndrome should be treated “appropriately and sensitively as these symptoms can be debilitating”.
Locating windfarms close to stud farms could threaten the Irish thoroughbred industry, which employs about 14,000 people, according to a submission made to the Department of the Environment.
Ireland is short of money but not wind, which now forms a central plank of its energy policy. But plans to develop wind power and export it to Britain are sparking a rural revolt, with local protest groups uniting through social media. Some claim Ireland will become a wind farm for Britain.
Residents of the Finuge area in north Co Kerry have taken the unusual step of putting 'for sale' signs on their properties because they say they will no longer want to live there if controversial proposals for a wind farm go ahead. Stacks Mountain wind farm Ltd is proposing to construct 10 windmills on bogland at Ballyhorgan, in north Kerry, but locals are vehemently opposed.
Some wind energy developers are “behaving like an oil baron of old” in dismissing concerns of communities about the potentially negative impact of their schemes, according to Minister of State for Planning Jan O’Sullivan.