With the work at Little Raith underway to build 9 large scale industrial wind turbines, each turbine with a total span of 124 feet, and all turbines within a 2km limit to the houses at South Street and Waters Crescent (the closest turbines will be roughly within 1.3 km) we have decided to look more closely at what impact the Wind Turbines will have on this area of the community and explore some of the myths associated with Wind Farm energy.

Noise Pollution

Often you will hear from developers that Wind Turbines and Wind Farms do not produce noise pollution and looking through YouTube you will see many videos proclaiming how quiet Wind Turbines are. However the majority of the videos are filmed close to Wind Turbines and often underneath the Wind Turbine, therefore the noise pollution will be very minimal, as can be seen in the video below.

Sound Distribution - Wind TurbinesThe way sound works, is that if you are underneath a Wind Turbine, most of the noise pollution will be overhead, and passes directly above, therefore it will seem quiet other than the hum from the actual turbine generator. Each blade passes through the air up to speeds of 150mph at the tip, creating large disturbances in the air and sending sound waves out in all directions.

The sound waves are reflected back to the ground and up in the air, over a distance, and will become louder the further away you are. The noise will vary depending on the surfaces the sound waves are being reflected off. An example of this in action can be viewed and heard in the video below which was filmed at a distance of 1000ft.

The noise pollution will vary depending on the surface area reflecting the sound waves, how much wind is being generated (ie – windy days will be noisier), and the weather in general. Reports we have viewed indicate that the noise pollution from wind turbines is greater at night time, due to the stillness of the air, allowing the sound waves to travel much further unrestricted, as well as during the winter months.

Low Frequency Noise Pollution

Wind Turbines also generate low frequency sounds which are below the threshold of human hearing but research indicate that the Low Frequency sounds generated are creating a health risk for humans, and has been named ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome‘.

Dr Pierpoint, a fellow of the American Academy of Paediatrics, believes turbines are dangerous because the low frequency sounds they emit interfere with the ear’s vestibular system, which controls our sense of balance.

These sounds – which are too low frequency for the human ear to hear – cause a group of symptoms she calls ‘visceral vibratory vestibular disturbance’, or VVVD.

They cause problems such as quivering, nervousness, fear, a compulsion to flee, chest tightness and tachycardia or increased heart rate.

The noise from turbines can also trigger nightmares and other disorders in children as well as harm cognitive development in the young, she claims…………

….. Dr Pierpoint argued that future wind farms should be built at least two kilometres (1.2 miles) from homes.

Ref: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1203770/Are-wind-farms-risk-health.html

Lochgelly will be at a much higher risk, than the surrounding areas, as all turbines will be within a 2km range of the top of the town. If we check the distance from the South Street water house, the closest turbine is roughly 1.4km away, and the furthest turbine is 1.9km away.

Dr Pierpont, who has funded all the research herself and is independent of any organisation, recommends at least a 2km set-back distance between potential wind turbines and people’s homes, said: “It is irresponsible of the wind turbine companies – and governments – to continue building wind turbines so close to where people live until there has been a proper epidemiological investigation of the full impact on human health.

“What I have shown in my research is that many people – not all – who have been living close to a wind turbine running near their homes display a range of health illnesses and that when they move away, many of these problems also go away.”

Ref: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/are-wind-farms-a-health-risk-us-scientist-identifies-wind-turbine-syndrome-1766254.html

The World Health Organisation has published research from their document ‘Environmental Noise in Community Living’, which states:

  • Prolonged or excessive exposure to noise, whether in the community or at work, can cause permanent medical conditions, such as hypertension and ischemic heart disease. (ref. WHO Guidelines p.XII)
  • Noise can adversely affect performance, for example in reading, attentiveness, problem solving and memory. Deficits in performance can lead to accidents. (ref. WHO Guidelines p.XII)
  • Noise above 80 dB may increase aggressive behavior. (ref. WHO Guidelines p.XIII)
  • A link between community noise and mental health problems is suggested by the demand for tranquillizers and sleeping pills, the incidence of psychiatric symptoms and the number of admissions to mental hospitals. (ref. WHO Guidelines p.XII)

Ref: http://www.who.int/docstore/peh/noise/Noiseold.html

Noise pollution will be on the increase once the farm is completed, and residents will have to tolerate this, alongside the noise generated from the Mossmorran complex, a double whammy for the Lochgelly community, especially at the top of the town.

We will make a Freedom of Information request to Fife Council to find out what studies (if any) have been made into the noise pollution and health effect from the Wind Turbines, before they approved the planning application. We will also be posting more information we have found covering the health effects, noise pollution, the flicker effect, and the decreasing of property values associated with living near a Wind Farm.

Do you support the Little Raith Wind Farm project?

  • No (89%, 433 Votes)
  • Yes (8%, 41 Votes)
  • Unsure (1%, 6 Votes)
  • No Opinion (1%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 484

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14 Comments

  1. Alice R.

    August 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Please can you put this link up on your website, and would it be possible to embed the video? http://www.europesillwind.org/films/europes-ill-wind-2.html
    There is an increasing amount of people opposing wind-farms for very good reasons! There are many concerns about them causing ill-health or aggravating health conditions in children and adults. There has been very clever marketing by the people wishing to build wind-farms and very clever name-calling by these same people along with various governments so that people will be silenced when they have been trying to voice their concerns. Wind-farms are not the answer to our energy problems; they cost more than they produce. They cause ill-health, they create ‘dead-land’, electricity is required to run them, think also of the road structure required to set them up, and also really think about the amount of concrete that has to be poured into the land/ground below them to keep them standing, tons of concrete! Most of all though is the potential ill-health of those who have no choice in living close to them, it is wrong. Certain countries in Europe are beginning to halt the growth and proliferation of wind-farms as more and more evidence arises to show they are not the ‘saviour’ that we thought they were, certain information has been suppressed so that the public would be kept in ignorance of the potential problems and health issues, once again money takes precedence over the public and common-sense. Solutions can be found and should be, but not like this. We need to step back and take stock of all the facts and strive for real ‘clean-energies’. I totally object to the Raith Wind Farm, for starters it is far too close to peoples houses especially the top end of Lochgelly, they are going to suffer from the constant noise pollution and the possible effects of ill-health that is being reported around the turbines. Money speaks again!
    http://www.europesillwind.org/films/europes-ill-wind-2.html

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      August 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you for your comment, we will be doing a range of articles on the various issues surrounding Wind Farms as we feel it is only fair to provide information on the negative aspects, as Kennedy Renewables (the owner for Little Raith Wind Farms) will solely be focused on providing the positive aspects.

      We have offered the PR agency behind the development the opportunity to register on the site and share their news or views, but we have never heard back from them.

      I haven’t watched the video the full way through yet, but we will embed the video in a comment below, if we can 😉

      Reply

  2. Lochgelly

    August 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm

  3. T.M.

    September 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Reckon I’m gonna have to move from the top end of Lochgelly…apart from having a cracker-plant as a neighbour and the resulting flaring, etc. there is now an industrial wind farm of absolutely giant turbines going up right between me, the dual carriageway and the cracker-plant. There is growing evidence and opposition to them for a whole variety of reasons, but bottom line is they just don’t work! Rich men reaping rich benefits…very clever marketing…and leaving people scared to voice their opposition ‘cos nobody wants to be called a NIMBY! So I have been doing my research…there is noise pollution, flickering, health probs, the carbon cost of producing them, the subsides they are paid, the actual amount of electricity they do actually produce is very little! Wake-up residents as the value of your home decreases, and the quality of your day-to-day life declines with the noise and flickering coming your way! Not to mention the health problems you may encounter! So, possible mass-exodus from the top end of Lochgelly… give us a break Fife Council please! CRACKER-PLANT, DUEL CARRIAGEWAY and now an INDUSTRIAL WIND FARM!!! I’m dying!

    Reply

    • RWFGroup

      September 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      @TM: can you collect photos for our group to put on te site? it is a bit much to dump everything on Lochgelly. Best advice we have had is to keep a record of everything. Most important is recording your health before and after te turbines go up.

      Reply

  4. Jon Alexander

    September 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Wind farms are the biggest con ever. I am an engineer and I find it laughable that they are being peddled to the general public as a ‘green’ solution. It is almost as comical as the electric car.

    The basic facts and figures mean they are nothing more than a gimic to appease green campaigners… unfortunately one they seem to have bought. Forget all the rumoured health affects (although I agree with the affects they may cause they have yet to be proven), noise pollution (given how windy Lochgelly is, also noise from traffic is far more likely to be heard above turbine noise)

    Bottom line is that wind may be a green energy but the way of harvesting is anything but. The raw materials, concrete, steel, GRP all require huge amounts of energy and CO2 to create. So much so, over the predicted lifespan of a turbine (25 years), it takes 20 years to pay back the cost of the CO2 used to make them!! But what makes it take that long is that due to the unreliability of wind, wind turbines have an average efficiency of 10%.

    This was nothing more than a gimic to show that governments are doing something to reduce the CO2 output from producing energy, instead they are offsetting the CO2 produced into the manufacturing industry.

    If the government were serious about going green tidal power is the only real green energy available to us. This is nothing more than a get rich quick scheme for land owners with unusable land and organisations trying to look ‘green’

    Don’t be fooled.

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      September 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I do agree that it seems to be a gimmick which will make others money and give the illusion of going green. There is definitely alternatives to industrial turbines and tidal power does look one of the better options.

      Reply

  5. Anon

    September 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    There is also the carbon cost of ripping-out the trees, hedgerows and meadow-land. There was a report on the value of trees a while back and how much each one would cost if their benefits had to be paid for or as part of the cost of a building-project, the cost of replacing them would run into thousands per tree. I would like to see this calculation also offset against the carbon-footprint of these industrial wind farms, yes they are a con.

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      September 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

      My understanding of green technology is that is supposed to be a clean energy alternative with little impact on the environment. What I’ve seen so far is that Industrial farms, desecrate a lot of land, impact on the wildlife and natural habitats, and effectively do not do what is promised. Certainly not environmentally friendly or green.

      Reply

    • Umar

      May 7, 2012 at 2:35 am

      solid masts become prgeoessivrly quite unstable above the 100m height. If you were to build a 160 solid mast steel tower you would have to highly increase the diameter in order to have a stable structure. The amounts? of steel needed to manufacture it would exponentially increase along with the manufacturing costs ..I wouldn’t want to pay for those kilowatts We are trying to produce cheaper energy not more expensive!

      Reply

  6. Tom

    January 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Jon Alexander, where did you get that 20 year figure from? Very interested in getting the facts on that one – It was my understanding that it was more like 6 months energy payback compared with ~10 years for conventional fossil fuel plant. Please could you point me in the direction of your evidence.

    http://www.bwea.com/ref/faq.html#payback

    Reply

    • RWFGroup

      January 11, 2012 at 10:52 am

      You would also have to ask what criteria did BWEA (who have a financially invested interest in Wind Farms) use to reach the figure of 6 months.

      DO a search for the Bentek Report, which shows that Wind Farms increase CO2 levels (due to plants operating at less efficiency to accommodate wind energy), and their is also more emerging studies that have been peer reviewed to support that wind farms increase CO2.

      The data sets used by BWEA and other wind farm developers, do not use all the data they should when calculating CO2 reductions.

      Reply

  7. Tom

    January 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I’m a little confused – who sponsored the Bentek report? The report says
    “Independent Producers Association of Mountain States” but I can’t find such an organisation, just the “Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States”.

    I also challenge the fact that the report is dealing with a much smaller grid than the UK – with a smaller number of conventional plants available for grid smoothing. As I understand it there are some pretty amazing dynamic demand systems in place already which do a pretty good job at handling the fluctuations in supply and demand.

    Another often ignored fact is that on the scale of 30 minutes wind is actually very predictable – the grid simply assumes wind will contribute the same at the previous 30 minutes. It gets it a bit wrong, but not greatly, then it uses the new figure to predict the next 30 minutes. It’s unheard of that ALL of the turbines stop spinning simultaneously. This allows the grid to smooth using dynamic demand and gas systems quite efficiently.

    http://www.rogerhelmer.com/sustainability.pdf seems to put the figure at 17 months,

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200304/ldselect/ldsctech/126/12620.htm puts it at about 13 months

    I have nothing to personally gain from this – and I understand that the people of Lochgelly have lots to loose. I am a supporter of small wind but my mind is not made up on big wind yet. I can see a lot of advantages but I am yet to be convinced either way. I feel that the embodied energy and backup system debate is where we should all be looking and I’m keen to read some independent reports into this matter. I’ve learnt a lot recently about load balancing on the UK grid which is making me feel better about turbines but I’d love for someone to really convince me one way or the other!

    Tom

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      January 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Thank you for the links Tom.

      Personally I am against the Industrial Wind Farms but I reckon the technology needs to evolve more to lessen some of the current issues with industrial turbines. What would be more beneficial in my opinion is a better mix of renewable technologies, rather than relying upon the one source too heavily.

      The Bentek report, I am 50/50 with as I feel it does serve an agenda for the petroleum companies. I have seen other reports question the CO2 claims from developers. I’ll try and find the links and post them here.

      Thanks for sharing your links, I’ll read them later tonight.

      Reply

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