Neighbors fleeing low-frequency noise from giant wind turbines

Wind Refugees: They can not sleep and want to move or buy new homes to get away from the large wind turbines. Politicians want better protections forthe neighbors and will be reviewing the rules.

Neighbours of large wind turbines are fleeing their homes because emissions, especially from low-frequency noise, is so great that they can no longer endure to remain in their homes.

Measurements with a new noise meter from Aalborg University show that the low-frequency noise from the turbines exceeds the 20 dB limit under the Executive Order.

At the bourgeois opposition are you after any election victory prepared to look at the rules to protect the neighbors better. Former Environment Minister Hans Chr. Schmidt (V) says that both can be considered to increase the separation distance to the turbines and that citizens are entitled to specific measurements on low-frequency noise instead of the calculated values, where you operates with the houses insulation.

"When people are fleeing their homes, it's not something they do for fun or to get attention. So let's meet these people and take them seriously," says Hans Chr. Schmidt, who also is backed by the Danish People's Party environment spokesman, Pia Adel Steen.

Had to buy home

Jyllands-Posten has previously described how a family at Dronninglund in the past year had lived either in a caravan or a borrowed cottage, but they are far from the only ones:

Eight large Vestas turbines standing 135 meters tall by Ådum near Tarm made life so miserable for farmer couple Erik and Rigmor Nielsen that they had to buy a cottage for their night's sleep. The family had otherwise invested in a brand new farmhouse in 2006, but, according to Erik Nielsen, they should never have done so. 

"Back then we did not know that the turbines would come, as we had never built a house. The noise has given us severe sleep problems, so we had to buy an alternative accommodation. Before the turbines we always slept fine, but now the turbines wake you and you know they are there by the humming sound. The noise affects us mentally and beyond our life together," says Erik Nielsen, who said the closest turbine is about 570 meters away.

Measurements with a new noise meter that acoustics researchers at Aalborg University have developed shows that the low frequency noise in the home is far above the windmill Executive Order limit for new noise of 20 dB. Measurements show the noise is up to 25-27 dB. Because the decibel scale is logarithmic, this means that the sound energy is doubled each time the value is increased by 3 dB.

The turbines were erected before the noise limits for low frequency noise were established, so the noise is not illegal.

"But that fact does not lessen my problem," said Erik Nielsen.

Shadow flicker and noise from the eight turbines made Joan Rafn and her husband so sick that they quickly moved and abandoned their farmhouse.

"In the beginning we left our home every weekend to get some sleep, but in the end we could not take it any longer. It was pure torture, and now we've moved to Vamdrup. The only reason we were able to sell our home was because a buyer was interested in our land. We did not get anything for our house," said Joan Rafn.

Two heart attack

Elsewhere in West Jutland Vildbjerg in Herning, the mink breeder, Kaj Bank Olesen, also had enough of the big three Vestas turbines where the nearest is 560 meters from his house. After two heart attacks, doctors told me to get away from the mink farm which prompted him to move to the cottage.

"I will not die here, but it also goes beyond me and impacts my animals. They get stressed and begin to attack each other. The vet was able to stop the turbines once, but now they just drive on," says Kaj Bank Olesen, who has several hundred mink malformed fetuses as a result.

Also Zealand's windmill refugees, former nursery owner Boye Jensen had recently declared his nursery near Gislinge in Holbaek Municipality for bankruptcy after the noise from a number of large wind turbines from the Swedish energy group Vattenfall has bothered him and his staff.

"My wife and I have long since moved to a small apartment because we could no longer function on the property. The same applied to our diligent Eastern European workers who lived and worked there. They got headaches, and several of the women had great menstrual problems, so they could not work, "said Boye Jensen, previously president of the National Association Neighbors for Giant Wind Turbines.

Audio expert Emeritus Professor Henrik Møller from Aalborg University understands that neighbors are disturbed.

"The authorities' calculations for low-frequency noise turns out to be almost always lower than when we implement actual measurements," he says.

Hard to prove

Director Asbjørn Bjerre from the Danish Wind Turbine Owners' Association says it is difficult to prove whether people's problems stem from the noise of the turbines or something else.

"The reason for using calculations instead of measurements is precisely that it is difficult to distinguish the low-frequency noise from other noise sources. And it is never documented that people get sick of it, "he says.

Secret meetings gave stringent noise rules for wind turbines

It has not been possible to get a comment from Environment Kirsten Brosbøl (S), who is on vacation, but the Social Democrats' health spokesman Flemming Møller Mortensen, also sitting on the environment committee, confirmed a three-year study was in progress on the health effects of noise since 2013.

"We're in something that is really difficult, but we have an obligation to learn. We have therefore launched the investigation, but we can not come to a standstill as the study proceeds," said Mortensen, who also declined to change the windmill limits before the investigation is complete.

Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Claus Torp, said they are taking neighbors' problems seriously and have provided financial support for a project in Holbaek Municipality to measure the low-frequency noise from the turbines for, inter alia, to see if the actual measurements deviate from the calculated noise.

Translation completed using Google Translate


JAN 6 2015
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