Wheal Jane Wind Turbine Proposal Application No PA11/08372
I would like to strongly object against the above mentioned proposal.
As you have received many letters from people who have been focussing on various issues regarding this installation, I would like to focus on one important issue:
the proximity of this proposed wind turbine to existing dwellings.
Noise and Health
There is recent research available from the Tenth International Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem (ICBEN), July 24-28, 2011, London, UK, which clearly gives (peer reviewed) proof of the existence of Wind Turbine Syndrome when wind turbines are built closer than 1.4 km from dwellings.
It is well known, and hardly surprising, that Wind Turbine proponents underplay, or like Pfr does, even deny, the effects of noise created by wind turbines. A similar problem exists with sun bed operators denying any link between over-exposure and cancer. There is now an increasing number of reports, by well respected bodies, that turbine noise can, and does, cause serious health problems.
There are two potential sources, the turbine gearbox and generator which create mechanical noise, and the rotation of the blades which create aerodynamic noise. Modern engineering methods are generally recognized as having solved almost all mechanical noise, so it is generally accepted that this is no longer a problem.
It is the aerodynamic noise, created as the blades pass through the air that causethe health problems to residents living in close proximity, namely the constant ‘swish, swish, swish’. The blades can also produce low frequency noise in certainatmospheric conditions. It is this continuous, unrelenting noise that disturbs sleep,leading to headaches, stress, and anxiety.
It is also well accepted by the ‘acoustics industry’ that ETSU-R-97, the ‘standard’ by which turbine noise is measured is fundamentally flawed, well out of date, and drastically needs an overhaul.
Noise monitoring is routinely carried out at around 10m above ground level, but wind speeds and therefore aerodynamic noise, can be totally different at 40m. This can be particularly noticeable at night, when wind speeds at ground level may fall to zero, but are high enough at blade level to keep the turbine turning. The noise generated can then be accentuated by very low levels of background noise as experienced in rural locations such as here. As yet we have not been shown any evidence that a noise impact assessment has been properly carried out and how the results could affect local residences. On the contrary, I’ve seen letters of neighbours claiming that PfR has been tampering with the noise measurements by switching on extra background noise during the measurements.
New Bill proposed in Parliament re proximity to dwellings
As you probably know a new bill has been proposed in parliament by several MP’s who wish to regulate the proximity of wind turbines to dwellings.
Although not yet law, the Bill has been introduced for a reason, namely the now widely accepted recognition of health effects on local residents living in close proximity to these turbines. The Welsh Assembly and Scotland have already introduced such statutory guidelines as have many other councils in the UK.
Cherwell District Council near Oxford has set a minimum distance of 800m from the nearest residence.
I live within this 800m range and I am extremely worried about the detrimental effects this wind turbine may have on my family and neighbours.
This bill will have its second reading in January 2012 and it shows the concern of MP’s including our local MP Mrs Sarah Newton with respect to this issue.
In this particular Wheal Jane project there is one house at 200 m (!) several within 400 m and many within 800m. Within the safe zone of 2 km there are 285 houses with approximately 1,000 inhabitants who may be affected.
I believe that Cornwall Council would be failing in its duty of care to these residents if it permits this development, knowing that these potential problems exist.
I would like to remind the Authority of the recognized and well documented problems at Bear Downs and at Carland Cross, where the two nearest residents were forced to move out of their homes and at least one of these residences is now derelict.
There is also the problem of loss of property value. Although this is probably not a material planning consideration, it is worth bringing to your attention, as there could be a breach of an individual’s right under the Human Rights Act 1998.
Article 1 of the First Protocol states:
“The protection of property gives every person the right to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions.
This imposes an obligation on the State not to:
- interfere with peaceful enjoyment of property;
- deprive a person of their possessions; or
- subject a person’s possession to control.
However, there will be no violation of this right if such interference, deprivation or control is carried out lawfully and in the public interest.”
However, what is considered to be in the public interest is often left to the Government to decide, but any interference must strike a fair balance between the demands of the general interests of the community and the requirements of the individual’s fundamental rights. A lack of appropriate compensation would be likely to be considered disproportionate if it was subsequently proven that house prices were badly affected by the location of a wind turbine. I would also argue that as over 100 local residents have objected to this proposed turbine (although we were only informed two weeks ago!), it is therefore not in the public interest.
I have serious concerns about the damage to the environment which the construction of this turbine may cause when drilling for the foundations disturbs the contaminated ground belonging to the mine works below.
I understand that the base of this turbine requires approx. 1000 tons of concrete to construct. The vehicles required for their delivery are very long and heavy. The access to this site is extremely narrow and has a number of very sharp corners.
The photomontages supplied with the application are misleading, and do not illustrate the reality of how this turbine will be visible, both from the local area andthe surrounding villages.
While I recognize that wind turbines may play a part in alternative energy production, there is a very real danger that in our haste to embrace this ‘clean’ technology, genuine concerns about noise pollution and it’s effects, are being ignored. I do not believe that the limited benefit of permitting a turbine of this size in such close proximity to such a large number of residences will outweigh the potential health risks it could create for so many residents.
There are too many assumptions made in the application and not enough hard evidence. Data that has been supplied is mostly generic, supplied by the manufacturer, and has not been corroborated by on-site measurements.
It is for these reasons that I recommend that Cornwall Council does not support this application.
Oliver William Eisma
Filed under: Wind Turbine Objection
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