Residential buffer zones for wind turbines:The Real Evidence

This month sees the wind farm evangelists at RegenSW go into overdrive in an attempt to
derail any implementation of residential buffer zones (stipulated set-back distances)

The RegenSW report "Residential buffer zones for wind turbines:The Evidence" is Here.

While there are many aspects to this report that need challenging the most serious involves the health effects from building turbines too close to residential property.

Ironically only a couple of weeks ago I blogged (here) on a new paper published by a group of world leading scientists (including Dr Hanning BSc, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD - the world renowned expert on sleep disturbance). This paper calls for minimum 2Km setback.

Here is the full citation for this new paper::
Nissenbaum MA, Aramini JJ, Hanning CD. Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health. Noise Health [serial online] 2012 [cited 2012 Nov 24];14:237-43. Available from:

This paper has been available in draft for months and was first presented at a major scientific conference in 2011. But, you will find no reference to it in the RegenSW  "The Evidence".

Maybe they missed it. Funnily though, you will not find any reference to these either:

Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health related quality of life by Daniel Shepherd, David McBride, David Welch, Kim N. Dirks, Erin M. Hill  Noise & Health, September-October 2011, 13:54,333-9 DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.85502 

or this

Infrasound From Wind Turbines Could Affect Humans Alec N. Salt and James A. Kaltenbach
Bulletin of Science Technology & Society 2011 31: 296,  DOI: 10.1177/0270467611412555

or this

Properly Interpreting the Epidemiologic Evidence About the Health Effects of  Industrial Wind Turbines on Nearby Residents Carl V. Phillips Bulletin of Science Technology & Society 2011 31: 303, DOI: 10.1177/0270467611412554,

I could go on and on.

In fact, look at this sample - (Look Here) you will find 25 peer reviewed and published scientific papers on the ill effect of wind farms being sited too close to local communities. Almost all either directly or indirectly endorse a set back of 2 KM. They are all by world leading scientists and are published in world leading scientific journals.

None are even mentioned in RegenSW's "Evidence"

Regen SW do however, attempt to do a hatchet job on a case study series report by Dr Nina Pierpont. This report is now several years old and due to it's simplicity (it is a set of case studies not a paper) it is an open target. Dr Nina Pierpont is a highly qualified and much respected epidemiological scientist and practising paediatrician in New York. Her self published report, though using a small sample, was ground breaking at the time and  had a star chamber peer review.

In their attack, Regen SW cherry pick  from the NHS website (Look Here) The NHS actually does a fair evaluation of Pierponts simple case study. The points the NHS raise (about sample size etc.) Pierpont freely acknowledges herself. But this is old data. Even the NHS commentary dates back to 2009.

Just to even things up I'll do a little cherry picking myself from the NHS commentary. The NHS website's commentary on  [Pierpont] case study ALSO states the following:

" is physically and biologically plausible that low frequency noise generated by wind turbines can affect people, and the author puts forward several possible theories regarding this."

"The author acknowledges some of the study’s weaknesses and states that the next step would be an epidemiological study. One possibility would be to compare "wind turbine syndrome" like symptoms in people who live near wind turbines with those who don’t. This would show how common these symptoms are in the different groups."

"she [Peirpont] also adds that “further research is needed to prove causes and physiological mechanisms, establish prevalence and to explore effects in special populations, including children”."

In fact the whole reason Nina Pierpont called this a "Syndrome" was exactly because she freely acknowledged that at that time (several years ago), more work was needed.

This is work that has now been done by the scientists referenced above. Work that clearly shows there must be a set back of 2 KM.

In their cherry picking of historical research, Regen SW also appear to have "forgotten" about an earlier case study report that triggered Pierpont to do her report.This report was by Dr Amanada Harry. (Available Here).

Of course Dr Harry is somewhat more problematic than Nina Pierpont (who is a remote New Yorker). Dr Harry is a highly respected and well known local Devon G.P and is known and respected by thousands of people in the South West.

Perhaps RegenSW  might also be somewhat embarrassed that the first detailed scientific study on the damaging effects of wind turbines on local communities was actually conducted in the SW England and  vigorously ignored and denied by wind farm camp followers from then on.

In their "Evidence" RegenSW are obsessed by terms like "legally binding commitments". They are though, apparently far less interested in the latest research into set back distance on the health of local residents.

Now, I have to ask why is that?

Could it be the piper calling the tune? (you know the ugly one - labelled Carpet Bagger)

Or perhaps even more disgracefully, could this simply be a group of obsessed fanatics putting their own political agenda before the health and safety of the local population?

You decide.

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