Flyers Creek Planning Assessment Commission submission by Foundation

Waubra Foundation Address to the NSW Planning Assessment Commission hearing into Infigen’s proposed Flyers Creek Wind Development

11 February, 2014

Mr Payne, Mr Forward and Mr Johnson,

Are you going to approve this development, with the conditions listed, which will inevitably seriously harm a significant number of the residents living and working in this area out to at least 10km if 3 MW turbines are used, even driving some out of their homes?

Or are you going to follow the current CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Professor Warwick Anderson’s suggestion in his evidence to the first Senate inquiry, and “adopt a precautionary approach”. The Waubra Foundation has long suggested a 10km precautionary buffer, based on our field observations of sleep disturbance out to those distances, which are now being validated by researchers independent of the Foundation.

We note that you and members of the public living in rural NSW have not been well served by the “public servants” of the New South Wales Planning and Health Departments with respect to wind turbine noise.

We note the false and misleading advice given to members of the Planning Assessment Commission by Professor Wayne Smith and Dr Jeremy McAnulty from the New South Wales Department of Health, in a meeting in August 2013. These public servants have ignored the historical and recent body of acoustic and health evidence relating to the harmful effects of sound energy, with particular reference to wind turbine noise and vibration.

We note that New South Wales Health have still not bothered to go out into the field and listen to the New South Wales residents badly impacted by wind turbine noise pollution.

We note that the New South Wales department of Planning has done nothing as far as the residents are concerned to address and alleviate the serious noise nuisance problems occurring at Capital and Cullerin, revealed in its own audit, which has only recently been released to the public despite being available to the Infigen for well over a year.

We also note that previous submissions made by the Waubra Foundation to Planning Assessment Commission members have been ignored at Bodangora and at Collector. We urge you to re-read that material carefully.

The wind industry know, and have known for years, that the symptoms being reported now by the residents, and which are given the label of “annoyance” by engineers, are caused DIRECTLY by infrasound and low frequency noise, generated by the wind turbine, which then resonate inside buildings which amplifies the sound energy by acting like an acoustic drum.

The wind industry has lied about its knowledge of the adverse health impacts of their product, just as the manufacturers using asbestos, tobacco and other harmful substances have done. As a result of the lies the wind industry has told, it has lost its social licence to operate in much of rural Australia. In addition, their products are being placed too close to rural homes and workplaces because of inadequate and unsafe government noise pollution regulations, and inappropriate locations and unsafe approvals by planning authorities.

We note the active participation by Infigen in the launch of the global campaign by wind turbine manufacturer VESTAS to deny the facts, euphemistically called “ACT on FACTS”, on 18th June, 2013. I also note the enthusiastic participation by others in perpetuating the lies told by the product manufacturer, notably Professor Simon Chapman, Simon Holmes a Court, and the Climate and Health Alliance.

Yet recent revelations of a powerpoint presentation given by a VESTAS Employee at an Australian Wind Energy Association conference in 2004 make it abundantly clear that the wind turbine manufacturers knew and publicly admitted to the assembled Australian Wind Industry representatives that the current international standards for predicting wind turbine noise were inaccurate and underpredicted the noise, that there was a need for research, and that their product caused “annoyance” symptoms. These problems have still not been addressed by the wind industry, some 10 years later.

Whilst more research is required, the direct causation of annoyance symptoms and consequent harm to human health from acute and chronic exposure to wind turbine noise was conclusively demonstrated in the mid 1980’s by a large team of researchers, funded by the US Department of Energy, including two branches of NASA and multiple different Universities, and led by Dr Neil Kelley. The key points are detailed in our Explicit Warning Notice.

Are you going to subject members of the Flyers Creek and surrounding community to a minimum of 25 years of torment of wind turbine noise pollution induced repetitive sleep disturbance, leading to severe chronic sleep deprivation and all its well known and well documented serious adverse health consequences?

If you approve this development, that is precisely what will happen, particularly to the most vulnerable members such as babies, young children, the elderly, and those with chronic physical and mental health problems. There are three schools within 5 km of this development, and a nursing home. These institutions and some of those who live, work, and study in them will be adversely impacted by wind turbine infrasound and low frequency noise, which travels well beyond 2km.

On the basis of accurate field reports from Australian rural families, the sleep deprivation effects, and waking up at night in a panicked state are occurring out to at least 10km and sometimes further, especially from the larger wind turbines. Over time, more and more people report adverse impacts, because the effects accumulate with ongoing exposure.

These reports to the Waubra Foundation of adverse health and sleep impacts out to between 5 and 10 km have been independently verified by both community researchers in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia who have conducted population noise impact surveys, and also by acousticians such as Emeritus Professor Colin Hansen, Dr Bob Thorne, Steven Cooper and Les Huson. The adverse health effects are real, having nothing to do with scaremongering; the neglect of their duty of care to rural residents by the relevant State department officials in planning, health and noise pollution regulation is a disgrace.

One recent example of questionable conduct relates to the South Australian EPA Acoustic survey at Waterloo wind development, where three out of the five acoustic monitors were not placed according to the EPA’s own guidelines, rather placed in positions which would increase the background noise, which could have the effect of ensuring a non-compliant wind development is found to be “compliant”. Emeritus Professor Colin Hansen’s recently released comments about that survey confirm our concerns about that piece of work.

Please read and carefully consider yet again the implications of American Psychiatrist Dr William Hallstein’s letter to the Falmouth Board of Health, extracts of which are reproduced below:

“Turning now to the topic of sleep interruption and deprivation. Sleep disturbance is not a trivial matter. Children with inadequate sleep perform poorly academically, emotionally and physically. Errors in judgement and accident rates increase with inadequate sleep and fatigue for everyone: athletes, truck drivers, ship operators , aircraft pilots and physicians. No one is exempt.”

“In the world of medicine illnesses of all varieties are destabilized by fatigue secondary to inadequate sleep. Diabetic blood sugars become labile, cardiac rhythms become irregular, migraines erupt and increase in intensity, tissue healing is retarded, and so forth, across the entire field of physical medicine. Psychiatric problems intensify and people decompensate. Mood disorders become more extreme and psychotic disorders more severe.”

“People with no previously identified psychiatric illness are destabilized by sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation experiments have repeatedly been terminated because test subjects become psychotic; they begin to hallucinate auditory and visual phenomena. They develop paranoid delusions. This all happens in the “normal” brain. Sleep deprivation has been used as an effective means of torture and a technique for extracting confessions.”

“Sleep deprivation breaks down individual defenses and mimics a broad range of physical and mental illnesses.”

“Let’s hope the Town of Falmouth comes to its senses and stops the abuse.”

Justice Muse subsequently issued an injunction in late 2013 to prevent further “irreparable harm to physical and psychological health” to the residents of Falmouth, USA, and ordered that the wind turbines were turned off overnight.

Please listen to Mrs Maria Linke’s description of what her life is like now, with wind turbines as neighbours. Maria lives 5 km from the Macarthur wind development in Western Victoria. She did not oppose it before it was built. She did not think she or her husband or children would be affected, and of course the wind developer dismissed any notion of adverse health effects … so she was reassured. She cannot see the wind turbines from her home. This is some of what she told the Cherry Tree Tribunal members in Victoria, and her description of the symptoms she experiences as a direct result of exposure to operating wind turbines are typical of what many residents describe. The rest of her statement is also attached.

“On the 15th September, 2012 I went on an oversess holiday with my son. At the time I left to go away, there were no turbines operating (turning). We returned home on 1st October 2012.”

“Since returning home, unfortunately, I have been having a variety of new and distressing symptoms and sensations, and difficulties sleeping, which occur when the wind turbines are turning. At the time of our return home, about 15 turbines had started turning and they were not the ones nearest to our home. They were more like 6 or 7 km from our house.”

“From 2nd October 2012, I started feeling pressure in my ears, they felt full, blocked, I would have to hold my breath to pop the ears to hear. I felt restless, tossing and turning, could not relax and fall asleep, my husband too had trouble getting to sleep. After being away in China for 16 days, I longed for my own bed. I had never had any sleep issues before my trip.”

“On 22nd November, there were cool westerly winds. My ears were buzzing lying in bed, I had a restless night, slept sporadically. I had to go to Warrnambool with my son, and nearly fall asleep at wheel on way home – due to being so tired.”

“On Saturday 23rd February 2013, I woke up at 3.15am ears ringing, very restless, toss and turn, cannot get back to sleep. Got up at 4.30am, weather seems very calm with a slight breeze. Go back to bed, ears are ringing but cannot hear any wind outside. I am very restless and unsettled. At around 5am, my body senses vibrations, rippling through all of my body. Feels like an energy charge going down to feet and toes and heels. Feet and heels are tingling, I felt agitated, ears ringing. 5.30am, I cannot settle or relax even though I am exhausted. Up at 7am, very weary and lethargic, feeling totally shattered. It was a warm morning, no wind.”

“On Wednesday 29th May 2013, weather mild, perhaps a slight north to north westerly wind. I went to bed at 10.30pm, fell asleep awhile later. Then all of a sudden woke up and my whole body was vibrating right through. I was aware it was happening but unable to stop it. This happened twice, it was quiet unnerving and I felt hot and flustered afterwards. I have had tingling through my body before, but this time my whole body was going up and down (vibrating motion). It was bizarre, that I was asleep then all of a sudden get woken up and my body was shaking.”

“We take for granted a good nights sleep, but for me in the last 12 months, a good night sleep has been very rare. The next morning waking up and feeling rested was such a great feeling. For me, this clearly shows how important sleep is to be able to function on a daily basis.”

Please think about Mrs Maria Linke and the many others like her and her family who will be seriously adversely impacted, when you are making your decision. How many more “Maria Linke’s” will your decision create?

If you do approve the development, having been explicitly warned by us of the consequences of doing so, please ensure the following conditions are attached to the development.

1. Full spectrum acoustic monitoring is conducted inside and outside homes, at the homes of affected residents, and workplaces such as the schools and nursing home, and transparently available to all parties in real time, transmitted over the internet.

2. Limits in accordance with those established by Kelley et al for infrasound and low frequency noise exposure are adopted, and actively enforced. *

3. Limits of audible noise consistent with the usual industrial noise policy guidelines of background plus 5 dBA are specified. There is no justification based on scientific evidence for exempting wind turbine noise from those guidelines.

Sarah Laurie, CEO, Waubra Foundation

* the limits specified by Dr Neil Kelley on page 225 of their acoustic survey are as follows:

“the joint radiation levels (expressed in terms of acoustic intensity and measured external to a structure) in the 8, 16, 31.5 and 63 Hz standard (ISO) octaves should not exceed band intensity threshold limits of 60, 50, 40 and 40 dB (re 1 pWm –2) more than 20% of the time. These figures compare favourably with a summary of low-frequency annoyance situations by Hubbard [32].”

Reference Documents

VESTAS 2004 Powerpoint presentation to the Australian Wind energy Association

Waubra Foundation Explicit Warning Notice

Professor Colin Hansen’s comments on the SA EPA Waterloo Acoustic survey

Dr William Hallstein’s letter to the Falmouth Board of Health

Justice Muse’s judgment, granting an injunction to residents from Falmouth, USA

Maria Linke’s statement of evidence to the Cherry Tree wind development hearing in VACT, October 2013

Waubra Foundation PAC Address re Collector

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