Last week, I received a brochure from the local Conservative parliamentary candidate, Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
A section of this brochure dealt with wind turbines and her opposition to them.
Mrs Trevelyan casually mentions that local residents have reported wind turbine-associated health problems with the implication that wind turbines actually cause health problems in people, a claim which is wholly without evidence.
Much research has been published on the topic, both from physical and psychological perspectives.
Infrasound (low frequency sound below the detection of human ears) is produced by wind turbines and many other things, such as airports and roads. The common claim is that this infrasound can affect human health somehow.
Firstly, there is no evidence for infrasound affecting human health, and secondly, even if it did, the amount of infrasound produced by large wind is much lower that a motorway.
In the last 50 years of motorways, how many people have fallen ill due to infrasound?
The British Acoustics Bulletin recently published their 10th independent review of evidence for windfarms causing annoyance and ill-health in people.
For the 10th time, it has made clear that by far the main effects are social and psychological factors rather than anything related to infrasound.
Two factors can explain the majority of health complaints. First, being able to see the wind turbine (not the noise level), and secondly, whether the person obtains income from the turbines. Those that derive income from hosting turbines seem to miraculously prevent any such health problems.
The term Wind Turbine Syndrome has become a popular phrase in Conservative media recently because it sounds like it might be a real medical condition.
It derives from the title of a book written by Nina Pierpont and is based on conversations she had with her friends and family about wind turbines.
This book is not peer-reviewed scientific research, it is simply a book of some peoples’ opinion and no doctor would be able to identify a symptom called Wind Turbine Syndrome.
Either Mrs Trevelyan has not looked into the research, or she is simply ignoring it so that she can increase her chances of obtaining the vote from people who derive the entirety of their knowledge about the world from the Daily Mail.
I acknowledge that there are pros and cons to windfarms, however, I would appreciate if candidates would base their statements on solid evidence rather than rumour.
Incidents such as this are an insult to our common ability to critical think and a poor example to our children.