UK — NHS Shetland report explores health impact of wind turbines

Rosalind Griffiths — Shetland Times — August 1, 2013

Windfarms may cause “annoyance” and “distress” but they are unlikely to have any serious health implications apart from sleep disturbance and symptoms of stress.

That is the conclusion of a report from NHS Shetland, written at the request of Shetland Charitable Trust.

According to the report, written by director of public health Sarah Taylor, problems posed by wind farms can be summarised as flicker, electromagnetic radiation, which is virtually dismissed, and noise including low frequency sound. Other considerations, possibly more easily addressed, are construction and operational safety, the possibility of turbine collapse, the failure and breaking of blades and of ice throw from the turbine blades.

The conclusion of Dr Taylor’s report is: “Current mitigations do not entirely deal with the annoyance caused by wind farms, the results of which are a cause of distress and related ill health for a number of people living in the vicinity.”

The report was not specifically about the proposed Viking Energy wind farm, but nevertheless interested staunch opponent of the proposed development Evelyn Morrison of Weisdale.

Mrs Morrison is particularly concerned about the aspects of flicker and noise, and welcomed the report, even though she would have liked it to have referred to more recent research. She said: “There’s nothing new in it, I’ve been writing to The Shetland Times about these [issues] for years. There are very few recent references, some go back to 2003.”

Regarding flicker, the report states: “Shadows caused by wind turbine blade rotation can cause flickering that contributes to the annoyance perceived by some people. Although shadow flicker can cause epileptic fits in some people with epilepsy, the report states this is unlikely at the normal rotational speed of wind turbines.”

Regarding noise, it states: “It is generally accepted that the primary effect of low frequency noise on people is annoyance. Annoyance is recognised as a critical health effect, and is associated in some people with stress, sleep disturbance, and interference with daily living.”   Continue reading, here….

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