tilting at windmills a health impact assessment of the lewis wind farm proposals l.
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Tilting at windmills: A Health Impact Assessment of the Lewis Wind farm proposals. Julie Yates – Public Health Nurse Consultant Lucy Macleod – Public Health Specialist. Socio-economic & demographic issues. High levels deprivation Low levels economic development Poor health indicators (men)

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tilting at windmills a health impact assessment of the lewis wind farm proposals

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

Julie Yates – Public Health Nurse Consultant

Lucy Macleod – Public Health Specialist

socio economic demographic issues
Socio-economic & demographic issues
  • High levels deprivation
  • Low levels economic development
  • Poor health indicators (men)
  • Declining employment opportunities
  • Out migration
  • Aging population
  • Culture
the lewis proposals
The Lewis Proposals
  • Lewis Wind Power
    • 234 turbines
    • 140m / 100m to hub
  • Eisgein Bhein Mhor
    • 133 turbines
    • 120m / 80m to hub
  • Pairc
    • ? 80+ turbines
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

What would this involve?
limitations of review
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
slide14
Physical Effects

Mental Health Impacts

Social/WellbeingEffects

physical impacts
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

physical impacts16
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.

physical effects
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.

mental health impacts
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.

social wellbeing effects
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.

social wellbeing effects23
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
conclusions
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
conclusions25
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
final assessment
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

final recommendation
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.
what happened next
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
what did we learn
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!