Wind farm noise? It’s the sound of lawyers going to court

rumpoleTry this. Google the words “wind farm lawsuit” and see how many listings you get.

When we did this, the result was 897,000.

Around the world, plaintiffs are busy. In courts throughout Europe, Canada, the US and Britain a massive number of litigation actions are underway.

Many of these relate to health impacts.

The University of Sydney’s Simon Chapman has scornfully compiled a list of symptoms of wind turbine syndrome.  In fact, he’s been running a campaign.

Writing in The Conversation in November, 2012, Chapman said he had counted 198 health problems attributed to wind farms. These included cancer, haemorrhoids, weight loss, weight gain and death. In New Scientist, he called these claims florid assertions. On The Drum he referred to mass hysteria.

Chapman has repeatedly suggested people suffering wind turbine syndrome are rabid, and jealous of the money being made by neighbouring turbine landholders. He has referred to the nocebo effect, a term that has become the catch-cry of the wind industry.

It concerns us that a leading academic, who is purported to be an expert in public health, has been given unfettered sanction by his institution to run a campaign so dismissive of people getting sick. And here’s why.

Google the words “effects of sleep deprivation”.

The results, more than 3,000,000, blow Chapman’s tawdry list out of the water.

sleep-deprivedTiredness, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating and irritability are among the minor symptoms that can arise with a lack of sleep.

Prolonged deficiency in proper rest can weaken the immune system and leave the body susceptible to disease, including common viruses, diabetes and cancer.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation in children can often be mistaken as various behaviour disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

These include moodiness and irritability, temper tantrums, a tendency to “explode” emotionally at slight provocation, over-active and hyperactive behaviour.

Children tend to speed up rather than slow down when they lack proper rest. Sleep loss causes a range of schooling problems, including behaviour problems and poor concentration.

Teenagers who are chronically sleep deprived can exhibit problems with impulse control, which in turn can lead to alcohol and drug use and abuse.

It has long been known that psychiatric conditions can create sleep problems, but recent studies have revealed that sleep problems can create psychiatric conditions.

A 2001 Study at the Chicago Medical Institute suggests that sleep deprivation may, however, be linked to serious mental diseases such as psychosis and bipolar disorder.

One website we visited linked the death of Australian actor Heath Ledger to a prolonged period of lack of sleep.

So, Chapman’s spruiking his list with all the finesse of a sideshow alley tout is suspect in the face of such widespread evidence.

Adequate sleep is a basic human right.

torture tacticsThe CIA has used sleep deprivation as torture.

And that’s why suburban councils have bylaws governing noise.

That’s why rock bands in pubs have curfews. That’s why builders on construction sites must not start before a certain time, and must finish by a certain time.

That’s why lawnmowers are prevented from being used before dawn and late at night. And that’s why many urban municipalities forbid households from keeping roosters.

But wind turbines are allowed to run 24/7.

Several of us have visited a stone home in Waubra. The walls are more than 18 inches thick. The property is hand-built, a work of art.

The nearest turbines are 3 km away but when the wind comes from a certain direction the noise waves bounce around the southern side of the house, making the bedrooms uninhabitable for sleep.

The noise we have experienced first-hand is a far cry from what Chapman ingenuously calls “a gentle whoosh”.

So why are Environmental Protection Authorities around the country failing to adequately protect people from wind turbine noise?

In South Australia, the guidelines for wind farm noise were drafted by a firm of acoustic consultants called Sonus. Sonus is retained exclusively and extensively by wind farm developers.

It’s akin to having a serial rapist draft the laws governing domestic violence.

This is the same company that first bandied around the term nocebo in a report used extensively by the wind industry. This report was commissioned by the Clean Energy Council (surprise surprise).

The EPA in South Australia continues to assert there have not been any noise compliance issues at wind farms in that state.

This is despite the fact that AGL, the operator of the “Hallett 2” wind farm near Mount Bryan, shut down 16 of its 34 wind turbines during most of 2011 because of what it referred to as a “tonality” issue.protesters

And this also despite the fact that one of AGL’s turbine hosts near Jamestown has complained so bitterly to AGL that it had the 5 or 6 turbines closest to his home shut down for at least three months.

Four homes have been abandoned without any compensation (so far) near Waterloo wind farm.

Residents of at least 2 other homes are desperate to leave, but because they have nowhere to go and a lack of resources, they continue to stay and suffer.

Another resident finds it necessary to leave the area for several days at a time to get sleep and recover or when the weather conditions and wind direction result in ongoing adverse effects for her in her home.

At Waubra, at least eight homes are now empty because residents have fled.

There are numerous other examples.

Be assured of this. We have visited people’s empty houses. We have spoken to their owners. The stories are heartbreaking.

And also, be assured of this. Wind companies lie about this because the financial and legal stakes are enormous.

So when someone raises the question of wind farm noise, you can tell them the answer is simple. It’s actually the sound of lawyers all over the world hurrying to court.

You can download a copy of the Waubra Foundation CEO Sarah Laurie’s letter to Simon Chapman, October 28, 2012, here.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Wanda Allott says:

    just look at Simon Chapman photo the way he poses shows you the kind of person
    he is, he thinks he knows it all

  2. Thanks for this post! Greedy wind developers here in Ohio, USA are using Chapman’s words as “evidence” that there are no health issues. What a disgrace.

  3. Funny how the Labour party want to muzzle the Media but are happy to see Chapman rant and rave unfettered, HYPOCRITES!

  4. I could not agree more on the tactics of what are, in sociological terms, and he is a sociologist with no qualifications to diagnose or scoff at people’s problems, are called negative trading frameoffs- where they link their target to things like drugs, etc, as well as labeling them as NIMBY’s- debunked by peer reviewed studies.
    Perhaps you can use many articles such as:

    How Ecofriendly Are Wind Farms?
    Cohn, Jeffrey P
    Bioscience; Jul/Aug 2008; 58, 7;

    DOI: 10.1177/0270467611417844
    2011 31: 377 originally published online 22 August 2011
    Bulletin of Science Technology & Society
    Terry Sprague, M. Elizabeth Harrington and Carmen M. E. Krogh
    Birds and Bird Habitat : What Are the Risks From Industrial Wind Turbine Exposure?
    Bird kill rate and disruption of habitat has been reported when industrial wind turbines are introduced into migratory
    bird paths or other environments. While the literature could be more complete regarding the documentation of negative
    effects on birds and bird habitats during the planning, construction, and operation of wind power projects, there is sufficient
    evidence to raise concerns. Authoritative and mandatory vigilance monitoring and long-term surveillance over the life of the
    industrial wind facility are lacking. By the time the documentation of the rate of bird kills, including that of endangered species
    is available in an environs of an industrial wind turbine facility, the damage may be irreversible. This article briefly explores the
    negative environmental impacts of the siting of industrial wind turbines and associated infrastructure, including transformer
    stations and transmission lines, in proximity to migratory bird corridors, wetlands, and nesting grounds. Research is required
    prior to proceeding with further industrial wind development in these environs. The authors propose that there is sufficient
    scientific evidence to require invoking the precautionary principle and halting further development until these risks are

    On human health : Carl V. Phillips, PhD Epidemiologic Evidence for Health Effects from Wind Turbines July 19, 2011 Page
    There is overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby
    residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate. The bulk of the evidence
    takes the form of thousands of adverse event reports. There is also a small amount of
    systematically-gathered data. The adverse event reports provide compelling evidence of the
    seriousness of the problems and of causation in this case because of their volume, the ease of
    observing exposure and outcome incidence, and case-crossover data. Proponents of turbines
    have sought to deny these problems by making a collection of contradictory claims including that
    the evidence does not “count”, the outcomes are not “real” diseases, the outcomes are the victims’
    own fault, and that acoustical models cannot explain why there are health problems so the
    problems must not exist. These claims appeared to have swayed many non-expert observers,
    though they are easily debunked. Moreover, though the failure of models to explain the
    observed problems does not deny the problems, it does mean that we do not know what, other
    than kilometers of distance, could sufficiently mitigate the effects. There has been no policy
    analysis that justifies imposing these effects on local residents. The attempts to deny the
    evidence cannot be seen as honest scientific disagreement, and represent either gross
    incompetence or intentional bias.

  5. There are several lies which are repeated around the world by wind developers and their lapdog politicians.

    a) “There are no ‘proven’ negative health effects” If you are one of the unlucky ones who happens to be suffering from living next to one of these things, and you call to complain, you will be told by government and wind company staff that you are the “only” one who has complained.

    b) Whichever country you live in (I’m in Canada), wind reps will say that yours is the “only country in the world where people are complaining….no one anywhere else is reporting problems.”

    c) “50,000 green jobs will be created”. Whether you live in the States or in tiny Ireland (with a mere fraction of America’s population), that same figure is repeated EVERYWHERE! A recent probe in the States into this figure revealed that a clerk in a used clothing store qualifies as a ‘green’ job because it’s recycling, a janitor is considered a ‘green’ job. A taxi driver using a hybrid vehicle is considered a ‘green’ job. Anything to pump up their lies is fair game.

    d) “cats kill more birds than turbines do” Yes, I see cats taking down eagles and hawks and owls ALL the time!

    The lies just never end. And it’s a world-wide epidemic.

  6. Reblogged this on Quixotes Last Stand.

  7. Wind Witch Doctor says:

    Part 2 of this story could be ‘Wind farm noise-its the sound of wind developers rushing to shut up, buy out and bulldoze neighbours who complain of noise, ill health or sleep deprivation’.

    This has actually happened in Toora, Victoria, in 2007 where Les Osborne’s home was bulldozed after being bought by the wind farm operators Stanwell Corporation when he complained repeatedly about the incessant noise pollution he was being subjected to by the turbines. Les originally supported the project, believing the lies he was told by the developers regarding the noise he would experience.

    And a note about the Clean Energy Council-they used to be called the Australian Wind Energy Association before getting a whiff of their own stench and deciding they had better dilute the putrid stink they were producing by joining with more responsible renewable industries like solar and geothermal, reinventing themselves as the very official sounding ‘Clean Energy Council’….in reality they are still just an industry self interest lobby group who pay spin doctors to lie and mislead a naive public, headed up by Russell Marsh and Kane Thornton. I guess both of them had better start looking for another career soon if they want to retain any sense of dignity.

    And given the recent report fresh out of Wisconsin identifying homes saturate with infrasound produced by nearby wind turbines, our friends at the CEC had better update their very out of date ‘Wind turbine noise and LFN fact sheets’ reports page,

    One of which makes the now clearly debunked claim that infrasound from wind turbines is nothing to worry about.

    “In response to concerns that wind turbines emit infrasound and cause associated health problems, Dr Geoff Leventhall, Consultant in Noise Vibration and Acoustics and author of the Defra Report on Low Frequency Noise and its Effects, says:
    “I can state quite categorically that there is no significant infrasound from current designs of wind turbines.”

    Bollocks to that Geoffrey! Time to sharpen your pencil…..

    Hello CEC and Dr Levanthall…….the game is up boys when the international guru of acoustics Dr Paul Schomer backs the findings of a report like this Wisconsin infrasound report. You dodgy lying pricks are stuffed!

    Part 3 of this piece could be titled ‘Windfarm noise-the sound of lying, corrupt scumbag wind developers and acoustician’s running for their professional lives to escape litigation’.

  8. Angela Kearns says:

    Excellent information,but I hope we are not just preaching to the converted. It’s hard to keep positive and really believe we can beat these moguls who are stealing our homes, lives and properties.

    • Phineas T Windbag says:

      Hi Angela, we are “preaching to the converted” or singing to the choir as a friend of mine likes to say. But the more noise we make,the more we educate, the more we agitate, the more we highlight the injustices being perpetrated and the injuries being inflicted, the more the message will get out there. Most people are benignly in favor of wind simply through ignorance and apathetic acceptance of the great fallacies that the wind industry perpetuates. It’s about education and enlightenment. Although I consider my sole role as Phineas Windbag is to illuminate how ridiculous the economics are, how greedy the moguls are and the damage being done to good people all over the world.

  9. Phineas T Windbag says:

    Brilliant post, guys. Simon Chapman is the running dog shill of the wind industry. To mock and denigrate honest citizens who are genuinely suffering and can no longer live in their homes is contemptible.

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