"Pissed Off Syndrome" (not Wind Turbine Syndrome) in New Zealand

Oct 13, 2009

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“Noise from a proposed wind farm in the Turitea Valley will have no impact on the health of nearby residents,” says Dr. David Black, a physician at the University of Auckland School of Medicine, according to an article in The Dominion Post.  “Residents would adapt to noise from the wind farm, just as people living near a motorway got used to traffic noise, and [Dr. Black went on to say] there was no evidence to suggest it was harmful to residents’ health.

Makara, New Zealand

“‘I can understand [Dr. Black went on] if people moved into an area seeking a certain amenity [lack of noise] and if that amenity was changed they would be upset, but it’s not a health effect.'”

—David Black, MBChB, Senior Lecturer, Department of Medicine, University of Auckland

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—Simon Wood, The Dominion Post, NZ (10/13/09)

Noise from a proposed wind farm in the Turitea Valley will have no impact on the health of nearby residents, an expert says.

However, locals are unconvinced by the conclusions of David Black, who gave evidence yesterday before the board of inquiry considering Mighty River Power’s application to build up to 121 turbines 10 kilometres south of Palmerston North.

Dr Black said the proposed noise levels of the turbines—a maximum of 40 decibels—was within World Health Organisation guidelines and also complied with local body regulations.

Residents would adapt to noise from the wind farm, just as people living near a motorway got used to traffic noise, and there was no evidence to suggest it was harmful to residents’ health, he said.

“I can understand if people moved into an area seeking a certain amenity [lack of noise] and if that amenity was changed they would be upset, but it’s not a health effect.”

He said construction work, which could reach 70 decibels, complied with national standards and would take place in the daytime, when acceptable noise levels were higher.

Shift worker Rosemary Adams, whose house is 800 metres from the nearest proposed turbine, asked Dr Black how construction noise would affect her ability to sleep during the day.

He acknowledged the problem, but said little could be done about it. “It is difficult to make rules to protect shift workers and shift workers often have to make their own arrangements to sleep.”

John Rounce told the hearing he believed his family’s health would be at risk from chronic exposure to the turbine noise, and the consent should be declined to protect the peace of the area.

“I do not wish to take proactive steps such as closing my windows and endure any form of confinement,” he said.

Mighty River is redesigning the project to deal with residents’ concerns about the visual impact of the turbines, but this is unlikely to be completed before the hearing’s scheduled conclusion this week.

Extra time will probably have to be allocated this year or early next year.
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