By Iain Ramage
More than 100 international health experts and scientists concerned about noise and other fallout from giant windfarms have urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) to intervene.
Two years after activists in the Highlands demanded a thorough investigation into the impact of windfarms, the rallying call has spread across Europe, Australasia and the US.
Doctors and scientists sharing the north of Scotland’s concern about the alleged impact of turbines on human and animal health want urgent WHO guidelines to combat the problems.
Headaches, high blood pressure and even cancer are being blamed on distress caused by major windfarms.
Many victims have cited stress due to the inability to relax or sleep because of constant noise and vibration emanating from turbines.
The European arm of the WHO is currently revising its environmental noise guidelines in the light of a wealth of recent research and, for the first time, is investigating the impact of turbines.
It will focus on issues including sleep disturbance, hearing impairment and adverse births. Almost 120 experts and other concerned individuals with relevant expertise have signed an open letter to the WHO.
Argyll-based activist Christine Metcalfe said: “Complaints of adverse health impacts from those forced to live close to turbines continue to rise. The problems vary from site to site depending upon local topography, height and number of turbines and distance between turbines and homes.”
Campaigners have long claimed the industry has failed to monitor and mitigate noise issues.
Radiologist Dr Rachel Connor, a signatory who lives beside the massive Whitelee scheme near Glasgow, said: “There is overwhelming anecdotal and scientific evidence but those suffering are not being listened to by the Scottish Government.”
Highland anti windfarm campaigner Lyndsey Ward said: “The protection of its people is the first duty of any government, yet this SNP-led administration does not even insist on compulsory noise monitoring at approved wind factories.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We act to ensure that residents do not face unacceptable, adverse impacts of wind turbines. Any new guidelines that might be issued by the WHO will be considered as and when they are brought forward.”
Stephanie Clark of trade body Scottish Renewables said: “We’re not aware of any peer-reviewed, robust scientific evidence linking wind turbines with ill health.”