“It was emitting a pressured ‘whooshing'” (United Kingdom)
Mar 17, 2011
“Personal Diary of [Wind Turbine] Environmental Disturbance”
—Kathryn Austin, South Yorkshire, England (Feb 2011)
5.00am. Early start to take my husband to Manchester Airport. Home for breakfast then to work at college, came home at 9.00pm. Watched a little TV then to bed at 11.00pm.
Worked all day from home at the kitchen table and in office. Did not go out. At night, became conscious of a pulsating noise or sensation at bedtime. Checked the central heating/radiator/boiler which were off. Eventually took paracetamol to try and sleep.
Holiday. Awoke without the alarm at 7.45—unusual for me as I usually sleep until 8.30-9.30am on days off—to be aware of the same pulsating. Checked the central heating again, listened for other appliances—similar to a muck spreader working in a nearby field—thought it might be one of our local farmers having an early start. Seemed to be coming from the lane/gable end of the house.
Left the house at 10.30am. As I went to my car I was immediately aware of the same throbbing, pulsating noise, along with a very rapid click/clink with each pulse. I turned towards the noise and saw the wind turbine, full-facing towards me, going at high speed revolutions. It was emitting the same rhythm of pulsating noise and sensation as that during the night. It was also emitting a pressured “whooshing.” I immediately returned to the house and phoned the clerk to Hunshelf Parish Council, to ask advice on whom to contact at BMBC. He suggested Matthew Woodward in Planning.
I then left home for the day.
Returned at 8.30pm. On opening the car door, the same sounds were present. Once inside the house, with the central heating boiler/TV/computer on, this was masked.
To bed at 11.15pm. (I had forgotten about the pulsating.) As I settled to sleep, the pulsating became very evident. I sat up and listened. It was still there but with body movement was not so noticeable. Its direction was from the ceiling/wardrobe area of the bedroom. I went to a radiator in the corridor to check this was off/on; went downstairs to check the boiler was off and then back to bed.
After half an hour of pulsating experience, I again rose to analyse the noise; went into the lane/gable bedroom to listen there; laid on the bed to see if the sound was more evident when my head was touching the bed. It was still there; opened the window to listen. The pulsating matched the rhythms and was more pronounced as sound when received through the air.
Back in bed, the pulsating vibration sensation grew the quieter I became. My heart seemed to be making irregular beats. I wondered whether there was a link with my own internal blood pressure, ie: listening to the sound of your heartbeat. I tried putting the covers over my ears, tissues in the ears but still the pulsating became more intense the more rested and quiet I became. At the point when sleep would come, the regular “whoof, whoof” seemed to invade and draw the body rhythm.
After another half-hour period, I rose again and went into several other rooms to test the sound/sensation there. While standing, it was not so evident—having to be listened for.
Upon returning to bed, with my head in contact with the pillow, the vibrations settled into the bed. I recalled a similar sensation, on the night of the earthquake, the epicentre of which was Market Rasen, when the vibrations came up through the bed: no sound, merely vibrations which “struck to the core.” This constant pulsating was similar, affected by physical contact as much as by the measure of sound.
Another previous experience was when Environmental Health and the police were contacted regarding several raves [rock concerts], held locally, when the base beat from the music penetrated the walls of the houses. It was not the noise on these occasions but the vibration which was so invasive.
At 12.45, I rose again as I needed to sleep and eventually, as the paracetamol took effect, I did sleep.
Was awakened at 7.15 by the pulsating. I would normally sleep until much later on a day off and without the alarm clock. Once the central heating pump/boiler came on, the rhythm was masked and moving around the house, in the bathroom, having breakfast in the kitchen, the sound was almost imperceptible and had to be listened for.
This windmill has a life of 15-25 years, perhaps as long as my remaining life. I have decided not to say anything to family members so that I can observe their responses, if any, objectively, when they return home. I am also going to keep this diary; will contact Matthew Woodward in Planning with copies to our local councillors and contact the Sheephouse Heights group for a link to their adviser; read the Spalding case we learned of during the Sheephouse Heights protest; refer to the Human Rights Act, CPRE and BMBC Unitary Development Plan policies, particularly ES1, GS7,GS9,15,18 etc.
By coincidence, I have received notice in a parish council circular mail of a similar wind turbine to be erected elsewhere, reference: 2010/1468. Point 6 states; “the noise level from the turbine shall not exceed 43dB LA90, 10 mins at 3.5 metres from the window of a habitable room in the facade of any residential property.” I’m not sure that “noise” or “from a window” are the appropriate measurement criteria. Strength and direction of wind appear not to be addressed. Other amenity noise may also impinge, which is not the case here, at Green Moor, where tranquillity is high. I will need to seek scientific/technical guidance.
I leave the house to go shopping at 10.30am. The wind turbine has turned to face SSE, the pulsating is not so noticeable from this angle, only the swishing of the blades can be heard. This is evidently a better direction with a NNW wind than the previous nights, when the wind was from the SW, putting the village in direct line of reception.
At the end of the lane, I stop the car to talk to a neighbour who tells me, as a parish councillor, that people are reporting effects: residents in a bungalow at the top of Chapel Lane have reported being disturbed by the noise; television reception in a bungalow further down Chapel Lane is affected; on Castle View, neighbours are reporting that the wind turbine can be heard there.
The wind stays from the NNW all day, rendering the rhythm hardly noticeable when busy with day-time activities.
At bedtime, although the pulse is there, it is not so penetrating and, eventually, I am able to ignore it and sleep.
At 2.00am, I am awakened by the pulse. I check that the wind has turned and the blade head is facing the house. The pulse isn’t as strong as the previous evenings, the wind is lighter, which leads me to surmise that the strength of the wind increases blade acceleration and pulse. I eventually sleep without paracetamol.
Awoke early at 7.45, very unusual for my Sunday lie-in. The pulsating has woken me. Once up, the sensation is hardly perceptible as the wind has died. I check that the turbine is again facing SSE with a NNW, very light, breeze. I hope this direction remains, for, with critical work deadlines, I need sleep.