In Aberdeenshire, which like Dumfries and Galloway has seen an explosion of planning applications for wind farms,  there are 8 noise complaints against 6 wind developments,

Steve and Debbi, who live approximately 1 km from a single  80m (to tip) turbine, lodged one of those complaints and have kindly agreed to allow us to print their story.

We moved into our home almost 4 years ago. We could not believe our luck at getting our property and were welcomed into the community by the local farmers. Everything was fine until we noticed some work taking place about 1km from our house on the opposite side of the valley, due east of us.

I actually commented to the wife, ‘great, a phone mast…’ our phones have terrible reception in the area. But the structure got bigger and bigger; we were bemused at this and also confused. When the turbine was finished we were absolutely gobsmacked at the size of the structure. How could something of this size be built without our knowledge, but as we were pro renewable energy we did not foresee any problems. We actually started to use it as a landmark to direct people to our home.

THEN THEY TURNED IT ON!!!! Oh my goodness. Our lives were about to be turned on its head. Almost immediately we noticed our dogs’ sleep patterns were affected. They started to sleep less and become aggressive towards each other and people. We had a few close calls and had to make changes to how we exercised them. My stepson was first to get ill. He started to suffer from headaches and sleepless nights; he is a bus driver so needs his rest. At first we did not associate the effects on the turbine. We knew nothing about them… after all, they are just windmills and look cute eh?!

Then I started to hear the noise and noticed the vibrations in the home. We started to investigate on the internet what others had experienced & found out we were not the only ones to suffer in this way. My mood swings were getting worse and to be honest it was getting depressing for all the family.

We suffer several different types of noise, let me try & explain.

Wind shear: This is self-explanatory; it happens every time the blade passes the shaft and can be heard at all times when the blades are turning. The faster the blade turns the louder and more persistent the noise can be. The contractors will try to say that the higher wind speed will mean that the wind noise of the surrounding area will mask the sound of the wind shear. This is ok in theory, but in practice our experience shows that the wind is not a constant . This means that at the turbine it can be 10km and in your back garden 0km so you suffer maximum noise until the wind changes or drops it speed. Remember that the turbine may be up to 300ft high. This is the height of the Forth Bridge& is massive.

Mechanical: We experience a grinding noise like an engine with no oil grinding on itself; the noise is also accompanied by a clanking sound. This in itself is easy to ignore if it was not for the rhythmic nature of the noise. You find yourself working to the beat of the rhythm. It’s like being on board a slave ship with the drums sounding out the beat to row by.

Background flare: Our experience of Newstead farm is that any loud noises that would naturally permeate around the valley from behind the turbine, is flared up to seem louder than it actually is. Motorbikes coming out from Cuminestown are awful. Loud, quiet, loud, quiet, until they pass from behind the turbine. Before the turbine was there we never even noticed the noise in this way, but any noise loud, and then soft in a rhythmical pattern, is going to get your attention.

Remember, different people are susceptible to different things. Some may not hear what we do; to prove this we have had visitors stay for the week. At the start they cannot hear the turbine noise, by the end of the week they are commenting on the noise. It seems like we can mask out the sounds for a short period of time until our glass is full and starts overflowing.

White Noise: White noise has an infinite-bandwidth. White noise signal is a purely theoretical construction. The bandwidth of white noise is limited in practice by the mechanism of noise generation, by the transmission medium, in this case the turbine. A random signal is considered "white noise" if it is observed to have a flat spectrum over a medium's widest possible bandwidth, which is exactly what we experience. White noise is a form of torture used against prisoners and is illegal and against the Geneva convention, but it seems acceptable for a turbine to sit there and generate pulsating sounds at frequencies no-one can hear (white noise).

Ultra sonic vibration: This is the hardest to describe. The whole manner of the structure of a wind turbine is to capture the wind and as such, the turning of the blades and the ferocity of the wind determines the vibrations omitted. The vibrations are variable but constant. The worst time is at very high wind speeds as the turbine has to apply an automatic brake to stop the rotor overspeeding. The application of the brake causes a shudder in the turbine and this is transmitted through the ground to your property. Every building sways in the wind and causes vibrations through the ground. We have pictures that move on the walls, glasses that move on shelves and when cupboard doors are opened, they will fall out. It’s awful and unbearable.

Finally, because we have a complaint with the local council against the turbine at Newstead, if we were to sell our property we would have to declare this problem. Would you buy a house that has noise and vibration problems?

This submission is honest and truthful and you have our permission to refer to this as evidence and submit as an affidavit if required.
Good luck.

Steve and Debbi

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One Response to Steve and Debbi’s Story

  • Carol Huitson says:

    Just read Steve & Debbi;s story and would welcome a chat with them – we are faced with turbines being placed 750 m away from the house and are concerened about noise and health issues.  We are fighting there installation and would like to have all facts ready for when they go to planning.
    Just wondered if they could help

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