Energy Bill

Written evidence submitted by Mo Caswell (EB 11)


I write in full support for the reintroduction of Clause 66 of the Energy Bill and removal of RO subsidies for on-shore wind farms. The very act of generous subsidies became in effect a licence for subterfuge and dishonesty, where communities became forced to tolerate harm through policies which had been too heavily influenced by those who stood to gain.

 I first discovered I could feel turbine emissions back in 2008 when looking into visual and audible impacts following a wind farm application close to my home. The harm potential for neighbours was discovered in the 1980s by a NASA team looking into effects from a single turbine with reported impacts out to 3km. Not only did the Noise Working Group in the UK include far too many members who had an obvious bias in favour of the wind industry they also ignored the conclusions of the NASA study that clearly stated A-weighted decibel standards were unsuitable for the types of impacts they found from wind turbines. http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0Ak2bgr7C0nhPdGR3S1lEekU3T3p4ZDhUNDdRV2Y2ZkE&font=Bevan-PotanoSans&maptype=toner&lang=en&height=650

 It has been obvious for too long communities have been deliberately put in harm's way whilst experts have grossly underestimated or in the early days even blatantly denied even the possibility of harm.

 This abuse of the planning system would have been impossible without the undue influence of the industry on policymakers at the highest level. Draft documents which included sleep disturbance and greater levels of protection were altered as an obstacle removal exercise. At Appeals I have attended experts have given evidence claiming no health impacts despite admitting there was never any proper input from any health professionals in arriving at this conclusion and no mention was made of any the many studies urging caution because of the harm that LFN and infrasound had on the human body even after a short exposure.

 We had the experts claiming we do not need to have conditions for AM, LFN or infrasound as this was not an issue with wind turbines even when one major manufacturer was actively lobbying different governments not to condition for LFN as it would greatly affect their business because their new larger turbines would not be able to meet regulations.

 At one local Appeal the legal representatives of the wind farm developer explained how he knew exactly what was in one policy document because he wrote it, and we had an expert saying to the Inspector "they" had nothing to do with a property which was abandoned due to turbine noise, even after his partner had been summoned to the High Court because of his involvement.

 These experts were contracted by the Government for their expertise in this area even after their "conflict of interests" had been highlighted. A video from New Zealand clearly names the partner who gave evidence at the High Court as the one who reassured their community they would have nothing to worry about from the turbines prior to them and other members of their community suffering serious side-effects. In the UK High Court case it also became obvious data had been excluded which may have confirmed exceedences.

 For affected communities there is no practical redress whatsoever. Once turbines are up and running too close to homes there is nothing you can do. Health and well-being are seriously compromised, your assets are stripped and most people do not have the resources for legal proceedings. Even if they do the odds are stacked against them as the developments are carried out in such a way to off-load the problem sites leaving landowners and Councils to battle it out with residents. Local Authorities are asking for help as the turbine noise policy has failed (https://www.scambs.gov.uk/content/government-pressed-windfarm-noise-guidelines) December 2015.

As well as this the types of noise responsible for harm are not even controlled, yet are known to penetrate buildings; and even the buildings themselves can amplify the effects.

 At Newark the Hawton Public Inquiry (APP/B3030/A/12/2183042) the wind farm was given the go-ahead despite thousands of people living within the danger zone; i.e. closer than 2 km to the wind turbines. Negative impact has been measured out to 10 km and reported effects felt even beyond this.

 Not introducing the 2 km setback has seriously failed this community yet we know that when the turbines are eventually built many residents will not put their emerging symptoms down to the wind farm because of the denials of the potential harm even from people who have a duty of care to protect them.

 There are a number of locations where increased rates of deformities in animals have been reported following the introduction of turbines into an environment, such as this November 2015 presentation from Denmark (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RI_LxnZYM0). This must surely act as a warning that the harm is real. What has happened to these animals surely must be a possibility for humans too!

 It has been established that people can feel turbines with a shockingly close correlation between the harmful impact on neighbours up to 1600m away and the powering up and down of the turbines at Cape Bridgewater (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKgmnk6Rm4o).

 The information provided to DECC by the Independent Noise Working Group (http://www.heatonharris.com/publications-wind) provides a wealth of evidence of a onshore wind planning process being biased and flawed process.

 Subsidies encourage greed at the expense of community health and well-being. Hitherto respected professional bodies have been dragged into questionable practices, turning a blind eye to the harm being inflicted on wind farm neighbours and communities. UK onshore wind policy has been in effect like an invading army being handed weapons to wipe out communities who are told the invaders are "friendly" and who are then left to mount their own defence.

 Subsidies for onshore wind are unsustainable when these subsidies contribute harm to the wellbeing and health of the public. This harm outweighs the financial concerns of speculative developers and the subsidies must be withdrawn at the earliest opportunity.

 

January 2016

 

Prepared 26th January 2016