Settling Up: Irish Wind Farm Operator Pays Three Children €225,000 Compensation For Suffering Caused by Turbine Noise

Wind developers face liability in the millions for the nuisance caused by unrelenting, turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound.

Litigation is where the rubber hits the road: myths get replaced with facts; evidence overtakes spin and propaganda. Court rooms (and where they determine the facts, juries) strike fear into the (ordinarily icy) hearts of those that stand behind or run with wind power outfits.

Wherever in the world civil actions have been pursued in nuisance and negligence, wind power outfits have bent over backwards to settle out of court.

Sure, wind power operators have deep pockets (obscenely stuffed with the massive subsidies drawn from their victims, among others). But they have never won a common-law case demonstrating that wind farms do not cause noise nuisance.

And the reason they have never won such a common-law case, is that every one that has ever been pursued by wind farm neighbours (and, in Texas, 23 contracted turbine hosts – see our post here), has been settled, very quietly, out of court.

True it is that wind farm developers routinely ‘win’ rubber-stamp planning approvals, when they’re out to spear these things into the hearts of rural communities, despite furious objection from the vast majority within those communities.

However, the common law right to live in one’s own home free from unreasonable interference from noise has nothing to do with noise ‘standards’ (written by the wind industry), planning terms or the views of bent quasi-government authorities, like Australia’s NHMRC.

In the 6 years from when it began operating in July 2009, the Waubra wind farm – which is run by Spanish outfit, Acciona – attracted something like 1,400 noise complaints and drove 11 farming families from homes that neighbour its operation (see our post here).

The owners of those homes had been complaining bitterly about low-frequency noise and infrasound from the moment the turbines commenced operation.

Terrified of litigation, Acciona’s lawyers quietly went to each of the families complaining; purchased their properties and stitched them up with bullet-proof gag clauses – that prevent them from ever talking about the “sale” (see our post here).

So terrified were they that word of Acciona’s out of court settlements would get out, they even pursued one of the victims, Trish Godfrey all the way to Adelaide in South Australia in an effort to prevent her from giving evidence in a wind farm planning case about her acoustic torment – (see this article and our posts here and here).

Other common law nuisance cases where the developers have paid out substantial compensation to plaintiffs neighbouring wind farms, include English couple, Julian and Jane Davis who won a £2 million out of court settlement from a wind farm operator (detailed here).

Another involved the claim filed in April 2013, by a group of 17 residents living next to the Lake Winds wind farm (others joined the group later) against Consumers Energy in Mason County Circuit Court, Michigan. One of the successful plaintiffs, Cary Shineldecker summed up the result of their lawsuit, which was resolved during the late summer and autumn of 2014:

“It was just about to go to trial; in fact I was in court waiting to be the first to testify, when we were told a settlement had been reached,” Shineldecker said. “It took about two months to work out the wording; then ours was actually finalized the week of Dec. 17.

“To me, we were helping others by being willing to take a stand,” Shineldecker added. “One of these days the facts are going to come out. Twenty years from now the health impacts of living with these industrial wind turbines will be common knowledge. It will be like the way it happened with cigarettes. But right now those who know the truth are a minority.”

The full story is covered here: US Wind Farm Operator Settles to Shut Down Neighbours’ Dynamite Damages Case

Cary Shineldecker hits the nail on the head when he says that “One of these days the facts are going to come out”. And that’s precisely the reason that the wind power outfit being sued settled with him and all of the other plaintiffs in that case. And, for the same reason, why Acciona bought out and gagged 11 families at Waubra in Victoria. And, again, why Julian and Davis were offered £2 million on the steps of the Court before the trial began.

Applying precisely the same tactics, an Irish wind farm operator has, characteristically, denied all responsibility to its victims and handed over a fat pile of cash. Uncharacteristically, the amounts involved were not kept confidential.

Siblings who became ill next to wind farm settle case
The Irish Times
Aodhan O’Faolain
25 February 2020

Three siblings who claimed they became ill and their family had to leave their Co Cork home as a result of a nearby wind farm have secured €225,000 under a settlement of their High Court damages claims.

The settlements, made without admission of liability and achieved following mediation, were made in cases brought by Laura Kelleher (15) and her brothers David (17) and Jack (10).

The siblings claimed they and their parents had to leave their family home at Gowlane North, Donoughmore, Co Cork, in late 2016 several months after a 10 turbine wind farm went into operation.

They claimed the noise, vibrations and shadow flicker from the turbines, located some 700m from their family farm, resulted in them suffering from various illnesses.

These included nosebleeds, ear aches, skin rashes, swollen and painful hands, loss of power in their limbs, sleep disturbance and headaches.

Through their father Valentine Kelleher, the siblings sued Green Energy Supply, which owns and operates Knockduff Wind Farm in Co Cork.

The actions were also against company director Michael Murnane, of Gortyleahy, Macroom, Co Cork, owner of Green Energy Supply.

The defendants had denied all the claims, including of negligence resulting in the siblings becoming ill.

They also denied that noise, shadow flicker and vibration from the wind farm had intruded on to the family’s farm.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds was informed on Tuesday by John Rogers SC, for the Kellehers, the case had been settled.

Liability was not admitted in any of the actions and the medical evidence submitted in support of the Kellehers’ claim was fully contested, he said.

The judge, noting there was dispute over the medical reports and that liability remained in issue, described the settlement offer as “good”.

In their action, the Kellehers sought damages for alleged nuisance and personal injury which they claimed was due to the defendants’ failure to take sufficient precautions to avoid noise, vibration and shadow flicker from the wind farm.

It was further alleged the defendants failed to operate the wind farm in a manner to avoid causing unreasonable levels of noise, vibrations and shadow flicker and had not paid any heed to the complaints.

The plaintiffs claimed the wind farm was operated in a manner that did not respect their family, personal and property rights under the Constitution.

Moved out of home
The Kellehers claimed they started experiencing health problems in and around their family farm from May 2016 and had to move out of their home in November 2016.

After spending some time in a hotel, the family relocated to a property at Ballyglass, Grenagh, Co Cork, eight miles away from their farm. They claimed their symptoms eased after they moved away but returned if they spent any time attending at or assisting on the family farm.

The defendants denied the claims, denied any breach of constitutional rights and said the wind farm was operated in a lawful manner.

On Tuesday, Mr Rogers said the settlement offers, including the ruling of the awards, arose following mediation between the parties conducted by retired Judge Paul Gilligan.

Given the circumstances, especially given the medical evidence was contested, he recommended the settlement offers be approved by the court.

As part of the settlement, Laura, aged 15, whose ailments were more severe when compared with her brothers, was to receive €125,000, he said. David, aged 17 and Jack, aged 10, were to each receive €50,000.
The Irish Times

7 thoughts on “Settling Up: Irish Wind Farm Operator Pays Three Children €225,000 Compensation For Suffering Caused by Turbine Noise

  1. This documented story needs to be seen by everyone, but who will take the time to watch it? It shows thoroughly the strain and serious interruption to the lives of sincere people who have gone through incredible stress in order to get through to all who are responsible for the harm?
    These people have tried their best to show how amplitude modulation is harming people who are forced against their will to have the pleasure and safety of their homes ruined by turbines that are sited too close.
    ‘Order followers’ like Rachel need to be exposed everywhere.
    The fact that this happened already more than a decade ago and in Ontario we still have a protection racket within our government protecting the wind companies ought to show people what a crime this is! These turbines are not clean energy. Calling them ‘clean energy’ is a lie. We now know the details of what it takes to produce them, construct them and what it will take to dismantle them.
    This documentary didn’t touch the subject of LFN. acoustic pulsations/infrasound. Dr. Mariana Alves-Pereira is educating people about the cumulative and irreversible harm from this acoustic pollution.
    Also, the IPCC deception which was behind the rationale used to convince people that these turbines would ‘save the planet’ has been thoroughly exposed.

  2. Anyone else frustrated by the fact that whenever wind turbines are shown on television, either the sound is turned off, or it is overlaid with some pleasant music. Utterly deceptive perception building.

  3. The BBC series Windfarm Wars gives some insight into this Jacqueline.

    Published by SPARK.

    Windfarm Wars Episode 1

    Windfarm Wars Episode 2

    Windfarm Wars Episode 3

    Windfarm Wars Episode 4

  4. With the number of ‘out of court settlements’ being made you can only conclude the companies are not willing to take the chance of a court assessment of the problems these turbines cause.
    The companies know court cases can prove far too expensive to those they are harming so an out of court settlement offer is preferable to those suffering, the companies know they can afford to go to court if need be but would prefer not to have their ‘dirty linen’ hung out in public.
    Onus should be on the companies to prove their product is safe and operating at a level that does NOT cause harm.
    Machinery in factories have to have safety guards installed and they have standards they must meet before they can be operated including noise standards which are created from medical, rational and scientifically proven processes. If changes to a machines design means it could cause more harm then installed guards and other safety concerns have to be increase to meet the increased danger YET these turbines can be installed without any safety guards except for those people working on them. Nor do any increased safety measures need to be installed/created as they increase in size – NO ONE IS RESPONSIBLE TO ENSURE THE SAFE OPERATION OF THESE THINGS, taking into account their location in relation to people living in their vicinity is written down and if there are some they are not adhered to.
    NO ONE takes responsibility and those who are harmed have to prove it is the turbines which have harmed their health WHERE is the justice in this WHY aren’t the companies held responsible and have to PROVE THEY HAVE DONE NO HARM.
    Why are there so few outdated and unrepresentative regulations covering of the FULL impact these things can have on people, the environment and communities.
    WHY is this industry treated more leniently to that of other industries which may actually have less propensity to inflict harm?
    WHAT makes them so powerful that they can be taken to court and make settlement having gags placed on those who brought the case.
    WHY are they so scared of what will come out in the courts? Is it that the truth will ensure their demise?
    States shall develop national law regarding liability and compensation for the victims of pollution and other environmental damage. …”
    In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

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