Page last updated at 08:19 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Conference over claims wind farms are health risk

A wind turbine
The meeting will hear from Environment Minister Jane Davidson

Claims that wind turbines cause health problems will be discussed at a conference in Cardiff later.

"Wind turbine syndrome" was dismissed last year by a panel of experts, commissioned by the American and Canadian Wind Energy Associations.

They said headaches, nausea and panic attacks "were more likely associated with annoyance to low sound levels".

Environment Minister Jane Davidson and Dr Geoff Leventhall of the Institute of Acoustics will speak at the conference.

Dr Leventhall joined independent experts in medicine, public health, audiology and acoustics to examine whether the sound from wind turbines was detrimental to people's health.

Excess noise has become a growing problem for farmers and those living near wind farms
Daryoush Allaei, researcher

According to the panel, whose findings were published recently in Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects, evidence showed that "wind turbine syndrome" was based on "misinterpretation" of physiological data.

'Constant noise'

The panel's report claimed there was no evidence that audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines had any direct adverse physiological effects.

In mid Wales, there have been strong objections to wind farms.

Last year, a report for Powys Council said building work on more turbines in rural Wales would bring "significant disruption" because country roads would have problems transporting the huge structures to the hilltops.

In Carmarthenshire, people living near wind turbines in Alltwalis have complained to the county council about what they claim is constant noise from the turbines.

The council has asked StatKraft, which owns the wind farm, to provide some residents with recording equipment to monitor noise levels near their homes.

But according to an American researcher it is possible to eliminate the noise caused by turbines.

Daryoush Allaei said the main cause of wind turbine failure, noise, wear and damage was excessive vibration.

He said: "Excess noise has become a growing problem for farmers and those living near wind farms."

But he said by understanding the root causes of it the performance of turbines could be improved.

Mr Allaei will also speak at the Institute of Acoustics' Wind Turbine Noise meeting in Cardiff.



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