“I want my life back!”: Wind Turbine Syndrome victim (Australia)

Aug 23, 2011

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“Leonards Hill couple ‘under siege’ due to wind farm noise”

—Brendan Gullifer, The Courier (8/19/11)

Trevor and Maree Frost say they are under siege in their Leonards Hill home of 30 years because of noise from the Hepburn wind farm.

Mrs Frost, a part-time cleaner at Daylesford District Hospital, said she had suffered extreme sleep deprivation since the two turbines began operating earlier this year.

“I’ve had enough,” Mrs Frost, 57, said this week. “I want something done. I want my life back. That’s all I want.”

Mr Frost, a 65-year-old firewood supplier, said he was not so badly impacted but had witnessed the deterioration of his wife over recent months.

“She makes a lot of mistakes because of a lack of sleep,” he said.

Mrs Frost said the noise varied from a low whoosh to like a jet engine, depending on wind velocity and direction.

She said she was forced to wear earplugs while working outside.

“It’s not acceptable for country life,” she said.

“What we’ve worked for in the last 20 or 30 years, it feels like it’s all been for nothing.

“This is our place. I’ve never had anything that has interrupted my sleep like this, even when you’ve lost someone in your family. The stress is there all the time.”

And the couple say their daughter, Jenna, 22, was forced to move away from home because of noise from the turbines, about 520 metres from their house.

“She couldn’t hack it,” Mr Frost said. The situation is complex for the tightly-knit Leonards Hill and Korweinguboora communities around the wind farm.

The turbines are located on land owned by Mr Frost’s cousin, Ron Liversidge. The two men haven’t spoken in recent months.

Mr Frost said he and his wife had made an official complaint to Hepburn Wind and were keeping a diary of the noise impact.

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Simon Holmes à Court, Chairman, Hepburn Wind

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Editor’s comment
:  It’s worth reading Dr. Sarah Laurie’s response to the Hepburn Wind Farm fiasco.  Turns out the “Hepburn Wind” crowd (including Simon Holmes à Court, Chairman of Hepburn Wind) were given explicit warning by Dr. Laurie and others about siting their turbines too close to people’s homes.  The Hepburn Wind Gang turned a deaf ear.  The result is casualties like the Frosts and Dr. Andja Mitric-Andjic—herself a victim of Wind Turbine Syndrome.

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Sarah Laurie, MD, Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation

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Hepburn Wind Chairman Mr Simon Holmes à Court was warned this was the inevitable consequence of locating turbines too close to homes in October 2010, before the turbines were constructed. I wrote to him informing him of this by email on 18th October, 2010 and was subsequently interviewed by a local journalist, who quoted a representative from Hepburn Wind saying that they were confident there would be no problems, “as there were plenty of studies showing there were no problems” and they had no intention of waiting until independent health studies were completed.

Hepburn wind representatives and directors cannot say they were unaware of the issues, and the possibility that their turbines might have this effect, because of where they were sited. They chose to ignore that advice at their peril, and have instead chosen to “shoot the messenger”.

Unfortunately, when I met with Mr Holmes à Court earlier this year, to plead with him to delay starting the turbines until a health study had been done, he admitted he had not read Dr Pierpont’s study, and proceeded to accuse me of scaremongering, both in a private meeting with him and publicly in the oral evidence he gave to the Australian Federal Senate Inquiry into Rural Wind Farms (Melbourne hearing 29/3/11, p. 54 onwards).

This conveniently ignores the fact that problems with wind turbines in Australia were being publicly reported well before I became aware of the problem in July 2010. For example, Dr David Iser was an Australian GP who documented cases in Toora in 2004 and notifed health authorities and the then government, but he was ignored.Trish Godfrey, the Waubra resident, had publicly discussed her problems on a number of occasions, well before July 2010.

“Clinical whistleblower” is a far more apt description than “scaremonger”, and I join the ranks of others such as Dr Amanda Harry (UK), Dr David Iser (Australia), Dr Nina Pierpont (USA), Dr Robert McMurtry (Canada), Dr Michael Nissenbaum (USA), Dr Chris Hanning (UK), Dr Mauri Johansson (Sweden), Dr Henning Theorell (Sweden), forty physicians in Quebec, Canada, who have petitioned the Quebec government to do health proper health studies, and numerous others including more recently Australian doctors such as Dr Andja Mitric-AndjicDr Max Whisson, and Dr Wayne Spring, the Sleep Physician at Ballarat who has seen a number of patients from Waubra.

We now have the dangerous situation of an Australian Federal Government hell-bent on implementation of a technology which is causing serious harm to health around the globe when it is sited inappropriately, yet no action has yet been taken on the findings of their own Federal Senate Inquiry, which recommended urgent research to investigate this problem. It’s full steam ahead, reminiscent of the Titanic…

The same government is using buckets of taxpayers’ money to advertise this new government policy, featuring Hepburn Wind in it’s advertisements for its government policies, while at the same time this well-intentioned “community-owned” (actually, it is shareholder-owned) wind development is driving people out of their homes of 30 years. And there are apparently 50 more such “community” wind developments planned across the country by Mr Holmes à Court and his colleagues. One can only hope that the others are more appropriately sited, based on good independent scientific study, not yet done, or a very conservative setback buffer. Why are they not apparently listening to the National Health and Medical Research Council’s own advice to adopt a “precautionary approach”?

No amount of well-intentioned wishful thinking on the part of the directors and investors in these community wind development initiatives will protect nearby residents from the deleterious effects of physical forces such as sound waves, particularly the extremely low frequency sound waves emitted by wind turbines, both airborne and seismic, and which are uniquely disturbing, and uniquely penetrating.

It is high time that Mr Holmes à Court and all the other directors of Hepburn wind faced up to their legal responsibilities as company directors, and took those responsibilities seriously, and did their due diligence with respect to the adverse health effects of these wind turbines. They need to ensure that the acoustics advisers they are using are indeed doing their job properly.

Already, after a very short time operating under the company Hepburn Wind, the turbines are causing harm to health, and have had a devastating impact particularly on one family living 500 metres away, with two of the family members being so severely impacted that they have had to move out, or go away, to get relief from the symptoms and problems they are experiencing.

ALL PREDICTABLE. And ALL PREVENTABLE with the safe siting of turbines, well away from homes.

We know from the Falmouth, Massachusetts (USA) experience, that just one turbine is enough to cause serious harm to human health, from the case reports of serious consequences for neighbouring residents, and visitors (including acoustician Rob Rand).

THE TIME FOR DENIAL OF SERIOUS HARMFUL EFFECTS OF THESE TURBINES IS OVER.

IF THEY ARE CONSTRUCTED BEFORE THE NECESSARY INDEPENDENT ACOUSTICS AND HEALTH STUDIES ARE DONE, THEY MUST BE CONSTRUCTED WELL AWAY FROM HUMAN HABITATION.

IN AUSTRALIA, THE LIMITS OF CURRENT REPORTS OF SYMPTOMS DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO WIND TURBINES OPERATING (highly characteristic body vibrations and the nighttime waking in a panicked state with prolonged difficulty getting back to sleep) is 10 kilometres, which is why our Explicit Cautionary Notice has given this distance as the necessary buffer, based on current knowledge. As turbines increase in size and power generating capacity, this may well need to increase, because of the increase in low frequency sound generated (see Moller & Pedersen’s recent paper).

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Dr Sarah Laurie

Medical Director, Waubra Foundation

  1. Comment by sue Hobart on 08/24/2011 at 11:17 pm

    Unfortunately, all over the world we are NEVER going to get out lives back… Not until the truth gets acknowledged… I think the turbine owners should be made to live next to them…

    Bless you and all us victims I hope there is a heaven because life is now hell and we did nothing to deserve it….

  2. Comment by Tiredfrustrated on 11/29/2011 at 11:19 am

    I am an advocate for green energy, but now that the wind turbines are within a km of my house and I cannot sleep, I am frustrated. I moved my family, including two young children, to this rural area for a quiet, healthy life-style.

    After living so close to these turbines, I now understand the devastation it is having on not only my family but our small community.

    The community has unwell children, some with nose-bleeds. We are guinea pigs! Our property values have decreased and many of us are unable to sell our houses.