The question of infrasound from wind turbines has arisen again lately with the appearance of Melvin Grosvenor, John Yelland, Mariana Alves-Pereira and Patrick Dugast giving a seminar in Glasgow in September. I’ve spent much of the last 15 years helping Councils and people generally to object to inappropriately sited wind farms, but the infrasound argument has made that increasingly difficult. Let me explain.
Who is the debate between in the UK? On the one side are Melvin Grosvenor and John Yelland. Their expertise in turbine noise is recent. Melvin, says he spent much of his life as a Financial Advisor and John as an electronics engineer specialising in microwave equipment. They both became wind turbine acoustic specialists a few years ago when they had wind farm applications near their homes. They tell us that wind turbine infrasound makes people ill with a wide range of symptoms up to a distance of many kilometres.
On the other side of the debate we have the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, the National Health Service, the Scottish Energy and Climate Change Directorate and Health Protection Scotland amongst others. They say there is no evidence of health effects arising from infrasound generated by wind turbines.
Now, sit down for a moment and pour yourself a cup of tea and think about this. Ask yourself the simple question – who is most likely to be right?
There are two serious problems with the infrasound argument. The first is that it makes it almost impossible to argue that a wind farm will be too loud. The proponents of the infrasound argument have complete faith in its truth. They do not realise that, to the other 99% of the population including planning decision makers, it is crystal clear that they are speaking complete nonsense. That means that when you or I try to run an argument at a public inquiry that there will be too much audible sound at a proposed wind farm and someone on the same side brings up infrasound, we are all labelled as “cranks”, and our good argument is rejected with the infrasound. Or might it be a conspiracy dreamed up by the wind industry? It is not, of course, but the industry could not have thought of a better way of preventing serious scrutiny of wind farm noise.
The second problem is the potential effect the argument itself has on people. John listed some of the effects as nausea, headaches, vertigo, high volume nosebleeds, loss of balance, coordination problems, bedwetting and bed soiling in previously clean children and epilepsy. People near wind farms are ill and believe it is due to infrasound. If it is not, then they are in danger of not being properly treated for their illness.
I’m not going to tell you what to believe, I just want to set out the facts.
Dick Bowdler. 6th October 2017