Tharpaland International Retreat Centre. Executive Summary – Three Windfarm Studies and An Assessment of Infrasound



Tharpaland International Retreat Centre (TIRC) is the main international retreat centre and residential centre for the educational programmes in Scotland of a major worldwide Buddhist tradition (see Tharpaland, 2003a and 2003c). It is located within the beautiful and isolated setting of the Forest of Ae, in Dumfries and Galloway.

As Buddhists, we cherish the natural environment and all who live in it, and are committed to the development of clean and sustainable forms of energy and are therefore not opposed in principle to the development of windfarms.

However, in March 2003, following news of a proposal to build a massive windfarm in the Forest of Ae, Tharpaland set about assessing the wider implications this would have on the Centre’s ability to provide suitable conditions for meditative retreat, if the windfarm was approved. To this end, Tharpaland decided to study the possible impact a windfarm might have on meditative retreaters, in particular. Studies were then carried out at 3 Scottish windfarms – Hagshaw Hill, Beinn An Tuirc and Deucheran.

The findings of these studies (see ‘Effects of Windfarms on Meditative Retreaters – A Human Impact Assessment’ Tharpaland, 2003b), were so surprisingly negative and adverse that there was little room for doubt that the proposed windfarm, if approved, would force Tharpaland to close. However, although originally concerned with the impact that the proposed windfarm would have on just Tharpaland, it became increasingly apparent that the results of the studies could have potentially serious implications for the health of the Scottish population as a whole. Therefore, a follow-up analysis of the data was also carried out to explore this further (see ‘An Assessment of Infrasound and Other Possible Causes of the Adverse Effects of Windfarms’ Tharpaland, 2004).

This submission ‘Three Windfarm Studies and An Assessment of Infrasound’, presents a synopsis of the results of the Tharpaland windfarm studies (2003b). Whilst covering most of the topics requested in the remit, the submission focuses on those issues most relevant to the main points of the Tharpaland studies (2003b, 2004), such as planning and local issues, and in relation to windfarms specifically. Tharpaland welcomes the opportunity to share their concerns and positive recommendations with the Committee and hopes they will bring clarity and benefit to those in charge of renewables policy. …

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