Metcalfe, Christine, Open Letter to CEO of the British Medical Association

OPEN LETTER to the Chief executive of the BMA.

16th June 2014

Subject: Adverse Health Effects from Industrial Wind Turbines.

Dear Mr. Bourne,

During a recent dialogue with your member of staff Hilary Ramsay, the BMA stated position appears to have reached an unnecessary and surprising impasse regarding their inability to comment upon the subject above.

A local doctor who is a BMA member has been personally involved already at a wind farm pre-determination Hearing for which she constructed a simple health survey on stress levels prior to the wind farm even being erected. This showed an overwhelming result of 75% on raised stress levels. A letter has been sent about this to your journal the BMJ.

For a report funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, who are well aware of all the complaints about adverse health effects, see

There is a clear need to disseminate updated information now available relating to earlier articles on published on this subject, (e.g. which is entirely within the remit of your organisation. Without publishing the latest record and resource details, members are denied the opportunity to see and comment upon them and more importantly support the need for independent monitoring programmes to be instigated. It will be clear that the BMA must rise above any political sensitivities or bias in order to fulfil those commitments listed in their constitution. Especially those involving Human Rights.

Perhaps it will help if I point out that information given outlines and demonstrates why this is actually a human rights issue. In this respect it would also be informative to examine the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Canada’s Role Part 1 of 6 Competence, Safety, Health. Also: which very clearly describes the effects of sleep deprivation, a common effect experienced reported upon and measured, by those forced to live in proximity to wind farms.

“Extracts. 189 It causes significant cognitive impairments including deficits in memory, learning, logical reasoning, complex verbal processing, and decision-making; sleep appears to play an important role in processes such as memory and insight formation.190 Sleep deprivation may also result in decreases in psychomotor performance as well as alterations in mood.191 In recent years, a growing body of research has emerged that points to the complex and bidirectional relationships between sleep disturbance and psychiatric disorders. For example, evidence suggests that sleep disturbance is not only a symptom of major depression192 but it also independently affects the clinical outcome and the course of the disorder.193 Moreover, sleep disturbance seems to be associated with an independent increase in the risk of suicidal ideation and actions.”

Physical Pain or Suffering

“Even sleep restriction of four hours per night for less than a week can result in physical harm, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, altered glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.195 Sleep deprivation can impair immune function and result in increased risk of infectious diseases. 196 Further, chronic pain syndromes are associated with alterations in sleep continuity and sleep patterns. 197 “

 Legal Analysis

“The psychological impact of sleep deprivation supports the conclusion that it would constitute torture cruel or inhuman treatment for the purposes of criminal prosecution.

Sleep deprivation is known to cause mental harm — such as the deleterious psychological and neurological effects of depression and anxiety disorders — that is both prolonged and non-transitory. Sleep deprivation also is calculated to “disrupt the senses or personality” because it is designed to break down the subject’s resistance, affect mood, and disrupt memory.

Moreover, known physical effects of sleep deprivation suggest that even its limited use may cause “severe” or “serious” physical harm and therefore may amount to “torture” or “cruel or inhuman treatment.” Indeed, during the floor debate of the MCA, Senator Durbin stated that the Act’s amendments to the WCA would criminalize prolonged sleep deprivation.198 U.S. federal courts have also recognized sleep deprivation by other countries as torture. ……….202

Subsequently, U.S. federal courts have held that sleep deprivation constitutes a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s protection from cruel and inhuman punishment because sleep is “considered a basic life necessity.”

The BMA Constitution proves that there is no hesitation in commenting about other human rights issues. Any refusal to address this as a potential for a risk to health and harm, denies members being similarly informed, which is a serious matter. Especially as there is now a clear and urgent need to support the need for wind turbine adverse effects health monitoring.

Please may I have answers to these questions:-

1. Do you accept the evidence that sleep deprivation from wind turbine noise is occurring, and that sleep deprivation is extremely serious and health damaging?

You will have presumably have seen Prof Alun Evan’s recent review and also the Arra and Lynn review, by two public health physicians in Canada which supported the concerns expressed in 2012 about wind turbine noise by Dr Chris Hanning and Professor Alun Evans published in the BMJ – your own journal.

2. Would you support turning wind turbines off at night if there are noise complaints, so that people can sleep?

3. Would you support conducting urgent multidisciplinary research involving full spectrum acoustic monitoring inside homes, and concurrent physiological monitoring of EEG, heart rate, blood pressure and sequential cortisol in those people who are reporting adverse health effects?

4. Has the BMA ever received any money or gifts, either directly or indirectly from the wind industry?

5. As has been previously requested, what is your complaints procedure – presuming that I am not barred from this by virtue of being a non-member?

I hope that will be possible to move on from the previous view that the BMA is unable to comment as holding to that position is against the best interests of not only your members, but the public reliant upon the medical profession to serve and protect them when the need arises. Remaining fully informed becomes an enabling force for this and must therefore be paramount.

Yours sincerely,
Mrs. V.C.K. Metcalfe.

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