Reading Dr Erwood’s recent letter (Coffee table science, SN, 25 June2012), I would like to express my surprise at her dismissive comments regarding published work on the effects of wind farms on local residents. In the light of ever increasing evidence from around the globe that there are some adverse effects from living close to a wind farm I would have expected her, as a scientist, to be a little more open minded.
I would point out that not so very long ago the intellectual elite (doubtless the wealth creators of their day) believed categorically that the earth was at the centre of the universe and that the sun and stars revolved around it. This dogma was preached to the masses and prevailed because it was ‘off with the head’ of anyone who dared challenge this position. Thankfully times have changed – or have they?
Dr Erwood calls for data and facts. Perhaps if she had vocally supported the call for the promised Health Impact Assessment in Shetland, and VE had had sufficient regard for the population to carry it out; then there might have been new emerging facts that would have enhanced the case of the Windfarm Supporters Group.
The project might then have appeared more credible and the fears of local residents allayed to some extent. This has not happened and so some local residents of Aith, Weisdale and Nesting now become unwilling guinea pigs in the VE experiment.
It is now acknowledged; even by the energy minister, that living within two kilometres of a wind turbine will adversely affect the residential amenity of that property. It is not a great leap of the imagination to suggest that living with constant noise, vibration or flickering light might cause stress and in various ways affects either the physical or mental health of an individual.
No, I cannot prove this will occur; but I suspect that Dr Erwood cannot unequivocally prove that it will not. Yes, we need more research in this field, but is it morally justifiable to deliberately put people’s health at risk in the meantime?
This is another question for the trustees to consider. If they claim to have an ethical investment policy then perhaps this is the time to prove it.