Memorandum by Peter and Maureen Caswell
We attach evidence mainly relating to points
2 and 6 (below). Our evidence is concerned with the proliferation
of industrial wind turbines due to the Government's ROC policy.
"2. What are the barriers to greater
deployment of renewable energy? Are there technical limits to
the amount of renewable energy that the UK can absorb?"
"6. How do the external costs of
renewable generation of electricitysuch as concerns in
many affected rural areas that wind farms and extra pylons spoil
areas of natural beautycompare with those of fossil fuels
and nuclear power? How should these be measured and compared?
Is the planning system striking the right balance between all
the different considerations?"
We strongly believe that the current imposition
(through existing planning guides) of 125m (410ft) high industrial
structures into rural areas is flawed. Rural does not mean unpopulated.
The reality of today is huge turbines sited with blades within
25m of non-participating neighbours land.
Those that do not have evangelical blinkers
realise installation of huge structures will negatively affect
the landscape and "amenity" of local residents. The
reality is (for England at least) we have a high density of population
compared with EU neighbours.
With onshore wind, we are using the most invasive
and dominating option for what is only a supplementary not a replacement
power source. There is little trust in the Governments wind energy
For now we can only believe that turbines are
being used as giant political pawns, soon to be peppering the
countryside, making millions for astute investors, whilst local
communities are split and their health and homes negatively impacted
1. At long last we have hope that there
will be a reality check on what is going on under the renewable
energy banner, how a seemingly noble cause is being hijacked by
murky goings on and ordinary people are being sacrificed to "get
rich quick" scams. I am of course referring to the attempt
to cover as much of the countryside as possible in "wind
farms", before people realise how these adversely affect
2. We live in the very tip of rural Leicestershire,
the beautiful Vale of Belvoir and are currently under threat of
not one but two separate wind farm developments in an area of
low wind resource. We asked ourselves why anyone would choose
sites surrounded by villages, where the distance across the sites
between two of the villages is less than 2 ¼ miles. Well
the answer came as no surprise as an advert in a farming magazine
explained: "Fancy making millions? Have a Wind Farm!"
This goes on to say "most landowners are not aware that they
can make further millions out of a wind farm project if they are
prepared to deal with the planning application themselves."
The first wind farm, although recommended for approval by planning
officers was turned down by the planning committee, but is now
going to appeal. The second is in scoping.
3. The first (10 turbines; each 125m/410ft
high) is so close to a newly approved office that it is less than
the fall over distance at something less than 63 metres. Advice
according to Vestas Wind Systems in their safety regulations for
operators and technicians states; "Do not stay within a radius
of 400m (1,300 feet) from the turbine unless it is necessary."
So why would planning officers consider 63m is safe?! There are
bridleways and public rights of way at both sites far closer than
the 400m. One footpath would go directly between two turbines
only 200m apart. This separation will affect efficiency as well
as health and safety.
4. The nearest home is less than 700m away
from the first development, half the distance recommended by two
recent health reports. The second development site has 8 turbines
about 750m from our village and two other villages with a combined
population of 3,500; again well within the distance documented
to cause health problems. The current British regulations fail
to recognize these problems, because doing so would mean having
to admit they've already been sited too close to homes! The out
of date guidelines that are used ETSU-R-97, were drawn up to a
large extent by people involved in the wind energy and associated
industries. Even so they said at the time it would need updating
within a couple of years, ie before the turn of the last century!
ETSU-R-97 provides less protection than the standards of the World
Health Organisation for community noise. An Ombudsman looking
into a noise problem at one dwelling described the current standard
as "vague, open to interpretation, immeasurable and thus
unenforceable" So hence they are sticking to it as it affords
no protection to anyone and thus allows wind development to take
place where they know it is highly unsuitable. The "Hayes
Mackenzie report 2006" (noise) which the Government uses
in planning guidelines is another example of a company with direct
interests in the wind industry. We believe they are being employed
at one of the sites, therefore we see them as far from impartial.
5. We have taken the time to visit two sites,
so as not to prejudge the situation. On a very windy day we stopped
at a shop where we could hear very eerie noise. The shop owner
said it didn't bother him, but we were later to learn that the
land was his and he was organising tours. At a different site
we noticed a number of homes close to the site were up for sale.
At one we asked; what it was like living close to the wind turbines?
The initial response was no problem, but when they realised that
we were not interested in the property, they said that they would
tell me the truth "they loathed them". Two of the household
were feeling ill. They had already dropped the house price by
17%. People who had put in an offer withdrew once they found out
about the wind farm. They were stuck. They showed us a response
from the developer which refused to acknowledge any problem with
any issue, no proof of health problems or effects on animals (their
dogs behaved differently once the wind farm went up). The drop
in the house price was put down to the credit crunch. We were
told of a noise issues at two neighbouring properties. We spoke
to another couple seriously thinking of moving after their retirement
home had now become a nightmare. We then went closer to the site.
To be honest we didn't hear more than a slight whoosh, but were
astounded to discover that we both started to "feel"
strange. As we left, we turned on the car radio, we couldn't believe
our ears, it was pulsing in time to the rotation of the blades.
6. So far we know there have been issues
|Deeping St Nicholas||Lincolnshire
|Elmira||Prince Edward Island
|Te Apiti||North Island
7. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem appears
to be a combination of noise which is audible and noise which
is low frequency or infrasound. Lower frequencies are felt rather
than heard. Through the research that we have carried out, we've
learnt that this type of noise has been used as a weapon of war
where people exhibited similar symptoms to those being reported
by people living close to wind turbines. We got in touch with
Nina Pierpont, an American doctor who has researched the health
implications of wind turbines for over 3.5 years. She recommends
that a buffer zone of 1.5 miles between homes and turbines and
uses the term "Wind Turbine Syndrome" to describe the
symptoms she found.
8. This is a similar distance to the UK based "Health
& Human Rights Report"(2007) which recommends 2km and
The French Academy of Medicine which recommends 1.5km. Research
in Portugal indicated that long term exposure could lead to VAD
or vibroacoustic disease. World Health Guildelines for community
noise 1999; "evidence on low frequency noise is sufficiently
strong to warrant immediate concern".
9. So when an advert claiming "wind turbines are
not a danger to health" despite these reports being freely
available, we asked the ASA to take a look. Surprisingly they
didn't find in our favour, despite the inclusion of the letter
from Nina Pierpont. Considering what information is available
this is an impossible statement to make. We feel the ASA decision
is dubious to say the least. Just consider, a new drug with this
many reported side effects would not be allowed onto the market.
There has been no health research.
10. The whole process to implement renewables regardless
of the local cost is a complete shambles. Health is not considered
a planning issue, nor is whether it is likely to produce significant
electricity. Grid connection is a separate planning issue, as
is the erection of an anemometer mast.
11. Denmark is considering compensation for those people
who have had wind turbines imposed on them and we should do the
same. People who suffer are trapped, being unable to sell their
homes for anywhere near market value. The real cost is the gradual
destruction of rural communities, "robbing the poor and giving
to the rich". Local people have their amenity, quality of
life and possibly their health taken away from them. In our location
7,500 people will be directly affected, although there are knock
on effects spreading out from the area.
12. In response to the first application over a 1,000
individual objection letters were sent to the council. As much
credence was given to the mass produced tick sheets put forward
by the developer. I asked a planning officer why the concerns
of local people weren't taken into account? He looked directly
at me, smiled and said "we don't have to!" The latest
government planning "guidelines" encourages this biased
attitude which leads to an abuse of basic human rights, as peoples
homes are reduced in amenity and value. This amounts to double
standards, we condemn other countries for doing similar. The end
result is to turn people who were in favour of doing something
to help the environment against the idea because of the way it
is cynically misused by big businesses to line their own pockets.
Are targets really more important than the lives of UK citizens?
13. The existing UK law offers no protection whatsoever
to residents. I beg of you to change the law to establish a 2km
buffer zone between any industrial sized wind turbine and any
home, so there is at least some protection for communities as
is recommended in Scottish planning guidelines. All around the
country citizens are being sentenced 25 to life, just for choosing
to live in a rural area. They have lost everything and gained
nothing, whilst developers profit and landowners can afford to
14. Please please please for the sake of all communities
throughout the country, look at what is really going on and not
1. Wind turbines don't work in a power cutso will
not save us from having to find alternatives.
2. The levels of electricity they actually produce are
far lower than the levels they proudly claim in their brochures
3. On stormy days they are shut down to prevent spinning
out of control. Reconnecting to the grid with high winds can cause
black outs as shown in Europe
4. There are no Government sponsored studies to look
into what is actually going on in areas already changed by wind
farms Unfunded reports indicate increased levels of depression,
heart attacks etc in areas where wind farms have gone ahead.
5. The effects on local wildlife. We have heard that
bats and birds end up being killed in quite large numbers at some
6. The biggest myth is the environmental banner the developers
hide under. The company which is appealing in our area is made
up of Dutch group fined for cartel activities, a property company
(once respected) which has a conflict of interests by contributing
to devaluing local properties and a chief executive who imports
digital goods from China (low carbon footprint??). He sees himself
as an effective money maker. This shows the real reason to be
money not environmental.
7. Ecosystems change once turbines are up and running
(Everything from worms and insects to larger animals). It is well
known that creatures pick up vibrations and low frequency noise
long before humans do, yet there are no studies on what is happening
around wind farms currently in operation.
8. Larger mammals apparently change their behaviour around
wind farms. There are no studies to see what implications this
has for livestock or crop pollination on neighbouring farms. In
Germany micro climate changes with localised drought effect have
been reported. There is no research on what effects will be if
we lose local eco balances up & down the country.
9. Just because nobody has bothered to look into effects
doesn't mean they don't exist. There are enough people right around
the globe giving warnings to make you realise that there are problems
and serious problems at that.
10. Once some wind turbines get planning permissionothers
follow as the area is already blighted, there is nothing to save.
More than one site is facing a doubling of the original numbers
11. Justification appears to be that if any light industry
exists or a row of pylons is present, the land is deemed ugly
by developers. Using this logic there is very little in the UK
left to save, which is obviously not the case.
12. The developers do not help local people. They hide
behind poor legislation and ineffective guidelines. They create
problems, move to another area and do the same again, sometimes
using a new name.
13. There is obviously no UK law to protect local people.
The European human rights act should protect us, but no-one has
tested it yet. It is probably only a matter of time.
14. Much of Europe already has years of experience with
wind energy. It is apparent it is not a magic solution. Why are
we not learning from mistakes already made elsewhere? Surely common
sense should prevail over artificial targets.
22 May 2008