Last update: September 24, 2017

Thus I see myself forced, at 64 of age, to walk out of my house with duvet, pillow and socks, and to go and sleep at another location at least 5 km away from my bed, crouching on the narrow back seats of a small car which was never designed to be a camper van!

Ghislaine SiguierMay 23, 2014Poitou-Charentes

One kilometre from wind turbines: "I am forced to go and sleep somewhere else"

Resident’s account sent to Senator Hélène Lipietz, in reaction to a written question by Mrs Lipietz to the French Senate regarding safety distances between wind turbines and local residents' houses.

Translated from French by Avis de Tempête Cévenole

Dear Madam,

I was puzzled and pleasantly surprised that a green politician should concern herself with side effects from wind turbines which one must know how to keep silent about in the name of progress.

I live about 1020 m from 2 wind turbines in a wind farm comprised of 4, the other 2 machines being further afield. The nearest houses at Péré (post code 17700) are 720 m away. The machines are sited to the west.

Despite our observations regarding the siting of the wind turbines (on land belonging to local elected officials who voted in favour of the project!), the public enquiry delivered a positive final conclusion, and the prefect (Bernard Tomasini) signed off the planning permit albeit 5 months after the procedural deadline! So much for the geopolitical context of this remarkable piece of business.

Those who have been in a position to move houses have done so. The others must put up with that ongoing washing machine-like noise.

As for myself, I suffer from an acute whistling noise inside my right ear as well as a drumming noise inside the left ear. In addition to these, various kinds of noise inside my head which I characterise, for want of a better description, as electric bolts.

Thus I see myself forced, at 64 of age, to walk out of my house with duvet, pillow and socks, and to go and sleep at another location at least 5 km away from my bed, crouching on the narrow back seats of a small car which was never designed to be a camper van!

In the fall of 2012 I fell down heavily onto the road while I was walking my dog. It wasn't the dog's fault, if it had been, it would have pulled me off the road onto the grass. I broke my nose. My heart was checked but no anomaly detected. I do not smoke and I do not drink. I can only incriminate the symptoms in my inner ear or the chronic lack of sleep. We had been then effectively for over 3 weeks under a dominant regime of westerly winds and with much wet weather. A hellish situation. Now there is nothing extraordinary to westerly winds being the more frequent nor to wet weather returning every fall, every winter and often during the spring too. No one cared to take these arguments into consideration at the time.

The public enquiry official got his money, the prefect got a promotion, our local politicians have done well for themselves and all is well in this brave new world. The mayor and his pals have been incapable of managing this wind farm in the interest of the population, the developer sold his house as soon as the first machine was erected, the operator disregards our written complaints ... in a nutshell: we are helpless and abandoned by all. That populations should be sacrificed and treated with contempt does not matter.

I have been a passionately "green" person for over 40 years (I voted for René Dumont) and I cannot comprehend how the Green (except for Antoine Waechter) could sell their souls to the pro-wind lobbies! Energy transition is all we hear about right now, but focussing only on electricity production, and conveniently leaving aside our daily use of vehicles and therefore fossil fuels. We must produce ever larger aeroplanes, and cars, and lorries, and this is where most of the carbon emissions are coming from. But the taxes replenish our public finances, therefore not a word must be said, let's fight on the electricity front instead. When we are deaf, or even precociously demented, we won't use our cars any longer and that will be a small step! And why not kill us straight away while they are at it!

Thank you Madam Senator for taking this message into account and trying to secure safety distance regulations. 6 km is a minimum according to my experience with 2MW machines, mast height 100 m plus 35 meter-long blades, the E66 model without gearbox, advertised by Enercon as less noisy!!!

Siguier Ghislaine”

Notes:

1. Péré (post code 17700) is a small locality in the area of Charente-Maritime, on the Atlantic coast halfway between Bordeaux and Nantes.

2. René Dumont is an early Green politician who was active in the 1970s. He was candidate in the presidential election in 1976.

→ Original version in French

Resident’s account by Ghislaine Siguier, sent to Senator Hélène Lipietz