Vestas objects to wind turbine infrasound & low frequency noise requirements (Australia)

Mar 28, 2012


“[We] suggest the removal of the requirement to measure low frequency noise from the [New South Wales] Draft Guidelines” (Vestas letter, p. 13)

News Release from the European Platform against Windfarms (EPAW), and the North American Platform against Windpower (NA-PAW) 3/28/12


EPAW: European Platform Against Windfarms
NA-PAW: North American Platform Against Windpower
NSW: New South Wales
LFN: low frequency noise
ILFN: infrasound and low frequency noise

Click here for the Vestas letter

In a submission to the new Draft Guidelines for wind farms by the government of New South Wales (Australia), world-leading wind turbine manufacturer Vestas asked to drop the requirement for measuring emissions of low frequency noise (LFN), despite scientific studies indicating that they have adverse effects on the health of neighbors.

The following is a screenshot from Vestas’s letter:

Vestas’s request flies in the face of a new Danish policy, announced March 26th, aiming at improving the ethics of exporting companies, e.g., on human rights.  Denmark’s Wind Turbine regulations recognise that LFN can be a health problem.

The draft windfarm guidelines proposed by concerned officials in NSW require that LFN emitted by wind turbines be measured.  But in a letter to them dated March 14th, Vestas Australian Wind Technology Ltd, a subsidiary of Danish multinational Vestas, “suggests the removal of the requirement to measure low frequency noise from the Draft Guidelines” (p. 13).

Actually, they go so far as to urge the removal of the entire health section.  “Ideally, the entirety of Section 1.3 (e) should be deleted” (p. 7).

The letter’s author, Mr McAlpine, admits that “existing and well validated industry standard models for acoustic propagation are NOT designed to deal with frequencies at the low end of the audible spectrum . . .” (p. 13).

For the Waubra Foundation, this is a smoking gun.  “To date, infrasound and LFN (ILFN) have been ignored altogether, and Vestas obviously wants to keep the issue buried.”

Dr Sarah Laurie, the Foundation’s CEO, explains:  “Why is Vestas suggesting to remove the requirement to measure low frequency noise, when there is evidence that wind turbines emit ILFN which correlate with people’s serious health problems,1,2 and that larger turbines emit even more at these frequencies?3  Why is this technology being imposed upon the global community while ignoring the health effects of long term exposure to ILFN emitted by these machines?”

Adding, “Vestas claim their turbines are safe, but where is the data that proves it?  There is none!  Yet, all the actual clinical data collected by physicians and reported by windfarm neighbours shows that there are very serious impacts on health, which worsen over time.”4

Sarah Laurie, MD

Dr Laurie further points out that, at a windfarm in Waterloo, South Australia, consisting of 37 x 3MW Vestas wind turbines, a study last year revealed 70% of the population living within 5km reported being “negatively affected” by the noise.5

The Waubra Foundation has been contacted by residents living up to 5km away from wind farms who have had to leave their homes because of growing health problems. “Residents at Waterloo living out to 10km report awakening in the middle of the night ‘in a panicked state,’ a symptom experienced by many windfarm neighbours worldwide, apparently linked to inaudible noise, ear pressure, and body vibrations related to wind turbine exposure.”

Vestas is trying to cover up other impacts as well, notes Mark Duchamp of EPAW. “Their letter proposes to eliminate the NSW 2 km setback, as well as compensation for losses in property values, and the entire section on blade throw.”

Public health and well-being are in serious danger when industrial lobbies impose their terms on elected officials, comments Sherri Lange, of NA-PAW.  “Much the same is happening in North America, where the health issue has been pushed under the carpet.  This will cost taxpayers dearly, for ultimately they will have to pay for all the damage done.  Criminal charges may even be laid against policy-makers, for knowingly causing harm to health and life.”


Dr Sarah Laurie + 61 439 865 914 (Australia)
CEO, Waubra Foundation

Mark Duchamp +34 693 643 736 (Spain) Skype: mark.duchamp
Executive Director, EPAW

Sherri Lange +1 416 567 5115 (Canada)


1.  Stephen Ambrose and Robert Rand “The Bruce McPherson Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise Study” Falmouth, Mass., December 2011.

2.  Steven Cooper “Review of Draft NSW guidelines.”

3.  Møller & Pedersen, internationally-ranked acousticians from the University of Aarlborg “Low Frequency Noise from Large Turbines” J Acoustical Society America 2011 129:3727-3744.

4.  Physicians include Dr Amanda Harry (UK 2003), Dr David Iser (Australia 2004) , Dr Nina Pierpont (USA 2006 & 2009), Professor Robert McMurtry (Canada 2010), Dr Michael Nissenbaum (USA 2010), Dr Sarah Laurie (Australia 2011).  Documents are available for download from the following websites:,,, and

5.  Zhenhua Wang, “Evaluation of Wind Farm Noise Policies in South Australia:  A Case Study of Waterloo Wind Farm,” MA thesis, Dept. of Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide (Australia), 2011.

  1. Comment by sue Hobart on 03/28/2012 at 9:15 pm

    What a surprise from such a fine reputable company … after all their whole purpose is to save the planet from global warming … isn’t it?


  2. Comment by Dr Sarah Laurie on 03/29/2012 at 9:23 pm

    Dear Calvin,

    Thank you for posting this press release, and the commentary which puts the letter by the Vestas employee in context.

    What kind of person, indeed, would write that? Unfortunately, there are many, and they include public health and medical professors in Australia, as well as wind developers and their supporters.

    Mr McAlpine is someone who works for a company whose very existence depends on a lie–that there are no health problems resulting from installing industrial wind turbines close to people.

    My current medical registration is of great interest to the wind developers, because they use it to attempt to discredit what I say, at every opportunity. I have been even told that various wind developers claim that I have been “de-registered.” This is untrue.

    For the record, my academic record and former membership of various professional groups is listed up on the Waubra Foundation website.

    I am a fully trained, registerable medical practitioner, trained specifically in rural general practice.

    My career as a busy practising rural General Practitioner was interupted by a number of unforseen events, starting with a sudden early diagnosis of early ovarian cancer in 2002, which thankfully was successfully treated, but which required multiple further operations in the ensuing years to ensure it did not recur. I have also had significant family responsibilities with children (mine) with health problems, elderly frail parents-in-law, and a dedicated Public Health dentist husband, who works in Central Australia for an independent Aboriginal Health Service. This is 1200km away from our home base in the mid-north of South Australia.

    It is these overwhelming domestic responsibilities which have kept me from returning to paid employment as a practising GP; indeed, I kept paying my medical registration until 2005 when it became clear that I would not be able to return to clinical work in the near future because of these responsibilities.

    I look forward to resuming my much-loved career as a registered practising local medical practitioner, when the current atrocity of siting wind turbines too close to people’s homes and workplaces ceases.

    Until then, I will continue to do what I can to publicise the issues, pro bono, funded almost completely by my husband. Donations to the Waubra Foundation allow our work to continue, with a particular emphasis on ensuring that the full sound spectrum acoustic data are collected by independent acousticians at existing wind developments in Australia. Such data will be publicly available globally.

    Smears and vilification do not change the facts. People’s health is being seriously harmed, and has been for years.

    The ongoing denial of adverse health impacts by the industry, globally, is a lie, which is now rapidly unravelling. The sooner the industry “comes clean” the better.

    dr laurie

  3. Comment by Andreas Marciniak on 04/01/2012 at 11:14 am

    I’m getting very upset with this Turbine salesman ! one for dictating to our Government and second of shooting the messenger.
    I know Dr. Sarah Laurie for nearly 2 Year now and she is a Lady with a big Heart and I’m sick of these people calling her a scaremonger, I can tell you that the small group of people I know from Waterloo,the town that is now a disaster zone because of a lot of untruth told by people like McAlpine,I got in contact with Dr. Laurie long after we had send letters and Emails to Council and EPA and Developers about the wired things that where happening to us, I had invited her to my Home even after first writing to you Calvin and Nina, she came and asked us 5, first how we felt and would we describe what was happening to each of us, and then she told us if we heard of Dr.Nina Pierpont? that she had written a book on exactly what we were telling her, and I told Dr. Laurie at the time , that i had been in contact with you and Nina, and already spent hours on my Computer looking up any thing I could find on wind farms and Turbines.
    She is a fully learned Dr. taking some time out, what point is this Mr. McAlpine trying to make ? I’m shore wen a Mechanic or a Electrician has some time of, is still a Mechanic or Electrician,or even a Turbine sales man ! and I never heard Dr. Sarah Laurie say anything about being against Wind Farm, she is all about the right setbacks from Homes and Farms of these Monsters, and to do the research required, she is taking about 10 km, so where is he getting this anti wind farms from?
    I used to think that it was a great Idea,until it tore my Family and friends and the Town of Waterloo apart, to me, now I have been effected by Turbines even 15 km is to close, the best place I can think of is up Mr.McAlpine’s where the Sun don’t shine, and this peer-reviewed that all of them go on about! dose he even know what that means, me checking my Kids home work is peer-reviewed, my be some one should peer-review Mr. McAlpine .

    ps. sorry Calvin I just so sick of the way Dr.Sarah Laurie Dr. Nina Pierpont and all the people ho care for what is happening to people like us all around the world constantly get called Names like scaremongers and uneducated and not peer-reviewed, by these Blood sucking leeches.

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