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Tilting at windmills: A Health Impact Assessment of the Lewis Wind farm proposals

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Tilting at windmills: A Health Impact Assessment of the Lewis Wind ... Shadow Flicker. may be a problem to some individuals. can be avoided by careful siting ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Tilting at windmills: A Health Impact Assessment of the Lewis Wind farm proposals


1
Tilting at windmills A Health Impact Assessment
of the Lewis Wind farm proposals
  • Julie Yates Public Health Nurse Consultant
  • Lucy Macleod Public Health Specialist

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Socio-economic demographic issues
  • High levels deprivation
  • Low levels economic development
  • Poor health indicators (men)
  • Declining employment opportunities
  • Out migration
  • Aging population
  • Culture

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The Lewis Proposals
  • Lewis Wind Power
  • 234 turbines
  • 140m / 100m to hub
  • Eisgein Bhein Mhor
  • 133 turbines
  • 120m / 80m to hub
  • Pairc
  • ? 80 turbines

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What would this involve?
  • LWP
  • 167km roads
  • 9 electrical substations
  • Control building
  • 9 Monitoring masts
  • 210 pylons (80m)
  • 5 Quarries
  • 8 temporary compounds
  • 4 concrete batching plants
  • 4,000,000 cubic metres of rock
  • Bhein Mhor
  • 77km roads
  • 1 substation
  • 1 Control building
  • 5 Monitoring masts
  • ? Pylons
  • 22 Quarries
  • 10 temporary compounds
  • 10 batching plants
  • 150,000 additional two-way road movements
  • Vehicles over 50m in length

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Limitations of Review
  • Time
  • No studies found on developments of similar scale
    in terms of
  • Turbine size
  • Turbine numbers
  • Proximity to houses
  • Proximity to other similar sized developments

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  • Physical Effects
  • Mental Health Impacts
  • Social/Wellbeing Effects

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Physical Impacts
  • Noise
  • Shadow Flicker
  • may be a problem to some individuals
  • can be avoided by careful siting
  • Advised to check LWP modelling and request
    similar from Beinn Mhor

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Physical Impacts
  • Power cables
  • Many assertions of health effects
  • Most unresearched or unsubstantiated
  • Some correlation with childhood leukaemia
  • Research continuing on this and Melatonin
  • No irrefutable proof either way
  • Advise that Comhairle may wish to take more
    expert advice. Cables and pylons should be as far
    from houses as possible. Not less than 100m.

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Physical Effects
  • Safety
  • Accidents
  • Road safety (construction and operation)
  • Blade breakage, icing, fires
  • Advised that more information is required on
    operational safety. Plans should be checked
    through with Police/road safety, fire and NHS.
    May require a condition relating to operation sub
    zero.

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Mental Health Impacts
  • GP Studies sleep disturbance, stress,
    depression
  • Property value RICS survey
  • Construction and transportation phase
  • Quality of life
  • Advised consultation with affected
    communities. Possibility of financial package.
    Consult young people.

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Social / Wellbeing Effects
  • Housing and Public Health
  • Potentially significant numbers of transient
    workers
  • Potential impact on homelessness services
  • Integration with local community
  • Alcohol, drugs and sexual health
  • Advised involvement of ADSAT, Police and
    local communities in housing decisions.

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Social/Wellbeing Effects
  • Repopulation and Depopulation
  • Economic Impacts on individual and community
    health and wellbeing
  • Inaccuracy in LWP assessment
  • Advised
  • Exit strategy to counter post-contract decline.
  • Need for workplace health improvement and
    occupational health.
  • Monitor and manage impacts on other sectors
  • Look at integration issues
  • Consult on plans for handling community benefit

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Conclusions
  • Direct Health Impacts
  • No direct benefits to health from the proposals
  • Negative physical health impacts should be
    controllable through planning conditions, but
    uncertainty over effect of high voltage power
    cables

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Conclusions
  • Indirect
  • A net increase in sustainable long term
    employment is possible but not certain
  • The developments could lead to repopulation or
    depopulation
  • The main potential gain is from community benefit
    if it can be handled in an inclusive way to
    promote community regeneration
  • Housing is a major issue

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Final Assessment
  • These developments have the potential to be of
    benefit to community health and wellbeing, they
    also have the potential to cause significant
    negative health impacts.
  • The community and broader public health
    impacts will require ongoing assessment and
    management

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Final Recommendation
  • That should one or both developments go ahead,
    the mechanisms are put in place for an ongoing
    Health Impact Assessment
  • To provide early warning of problems which can be
    managed, reduced or avoided
  • To provide information which could be used in
    future applications in the Western Isles
  • To provide information which could be used
    elsewhere either in specific relation to wind
    farms or to provide information on the impacts of
    industrial developments in rural areas
  • To develop a marketable expertise.

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What happened next..
  • Stornoway Gazette
  • Wind farms fan the flames of racist unrest in
    the isles. Observer, May 2005
  • Commission for Racial Equality
  • Internal review investigation

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What did we learn?
  • Health Impact Assessment methodology provided a
    useful, systematic and rigorous framework for
    comprehensive analysis of complex issues
  • We were naïve !
  • Recognise the dangers of inexperience..
  • Do not underestimate the interest role of the
    media
  • Consider the benefits of a fully participatory
    assessment process
  • Remember - in small communities debates rapidly
    become personalised.
  • Urge caution. Start small uncontroversial, get
    partners used to the methodology its benefits
    when there is little at stake... and make more
    of an impact later!

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