“This incessant low volume regular beat is . . . mental torture” (UK)

Sep 12, 2010


Editor:  The following paper was given at a wind turbine noise symposium, “Where Now with Wind Turbine Impact Assessment?” The Thistle Hotel, Birmingham, UK, 9/9/10.

—Ron Williams (9/9/10)

I am Ron Williams and I live with my wife Jill at the northern end of the Lake District, which has been our home for 36 years.

I have a number of issues with regard to how the nearby Wharrels Hill development is disturbing my life, but I must limit my presentation to concentrate on how the impact of noise from these turbines has affected the quality of our lives and those of friends and relations who visit or stay at our home.

We live 833m (1/2mile) north of the turbines so when the wind is from the SW quarter, the resulting relentless, repetitive, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh . . . , as each blade breaks the wind flow past a tower, three times a revolution, is extremely stressful. The frequency of the swooshes, being similar to the human pulse-rate, is one of which the individual is very conscious and involuntarily your mind constantly attempts to correlate the two and you just await the next agonising swoosh. This incessant low volume regular beat is totally unbearable–which amounts to mental torture. At night, when the ambient noise level from traffic on the nearby A595 is low, the effect is obviously worse. Being a serious claustrophobic and asthmatic, I can’t sleep with the bedroom windows closed, so, in an attempt to alleviate the problem I have been prescribed sleeping tablets. Obviously, the effect of these is time-limited, therefore, should I need to get out of bed during the night, the suffering starts again. On almost a third of nights my sleep pattern is completely disrupted and I awake totally unrefreshed.

Importantly, one has to consider problems of possible addiction from taking this drug due to prolonged use or overuse and take into account not being able to drive a car, the dangers of operating DIY machinery, or using sharp knives etc., for some time after taking this medication. In addition, should it be necessary to undergo emergency medical or dental surgery, with the necessity for anaesthesia, serious complications could arise due to the possibility of overdose or contraindications.

. . . However, it is not the volume of sound, measured by a meter, that troubles me, but its very nature. It is the constant, quiet, almost whisper level, repetitive beat from the movement of each blade of a turbine that causes so much annoyance.

. . . In her book “Wind Turbine Syndrome,” Nina Pierpont suggested certain sounds from wind turbines can cause tinnitus, headaches, nausea, lack of concentration, etc. I’m able to associate with regard to concentration, being aware that mine has been seriously affected. Prior to Wharrels Hill operating, I was a Daily Telegraph crossword addict and also compiled crosswords for local newspapers. Since the turbines came on stream I cannot now concentrate to do either.

I keep a daily diary of the problems I suffer and for 2009 (324 nights), I was affected on 105 occasions (32%) and took some 163 tablets which is 50%. Meaning, on average last year, I had to resort to taking a sleeping tablet every other night.

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