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.
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.
The 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‘.
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.
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)
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.