Corruption in the wind?

People contact me regularly asking, ‘Why don’t you write about wind energy, Jac, and about saving the planet, because we’re all doomed, doomed!’ To which I usually respond, ‘Sod off.’ But one recent request to look into wind energy was different, and after an hour or so of digging I realised I just had to write about it.

Essentially, this is the story of three, linked, wind farms, but it’s also a reminder of how easy it is for political decisions in Wales to be controlled by those who care nothing for us or our country. Those I’m talking of see Wales as an exploitable resource, while we can be brushed aside with, ‘What’s it gotta do with you, Taff?’

Few things remind us more forcefully of this state of affairs than decisions concerning ‘the environment’.

Whether it’s allowing hippies to set up camp anywhere they like under the One Planet nonsense, encouraging ‘re-wilders’ to force out Welsh farmers and take over vast swathes of our country, or allowing ugly wind turbines to produce their piddling amounts of electricity . . . but lots of money for those involved.


Let’s start with Bryn Blaen wind farm near Llangurig, the village situated where the north-south A470 meets the A44 running down to Aberystwyth. Bryn Blaen was refused planning permission by Powys County Council, but the Planning Inspectorate overturned that decision in August 2016 and allowed the project to go ahead.

So on this one, the developers got their way.

Next stop is Rhoscrowther, near Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire. This was turned down by Pembrokeshire County Council in 2015, the appeal by the developers was rejected by the Planning Inspectorate, but then a High Court judge said that it must be reviewed by a different planning inspector. It was, and in April this year she upheld the decision to refuse planning permission.

This second refusal by the Planning Inspectorate was confirmed by Lesley Griffiths in a letter in May to the applicants’ agents. But the applicants made yet another appeal to the High Court, which in September blocked any further appeal.

That would appear to be the end of the Rhoscrowther wind farm.

The vista that some want to mar with the Hendy wind farm, click to enlarge

Back to Powys, and the Hendy wind farm, near Llandrindod. Planning permission was refused by Powys County Council in April 2017, and that decision was upheld by a planning inspector in May . . . but then, last month, Lesley Griffiths, Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Secretary for the management team in Cardiff docks said that she would ignore the planning inspector’s decision and allow it to go ahead.

Such a move is unusual. The management team can certainly over-rule local authorities – as we’ve seen with the latest developments in the Mumbles Pier project – but to go against the Planning Inspectorate is unusual.

Here’s the letter Lesley Griffiths sent to Keith McKinney of Aaron and Partners LLP, a firm of Chester solicitors acting for the developers. (You’ll note that there appears to have been some uncertainty over the date.)

In point 2 of the letter mention is made of the Developments of National Significance legislation under which the ‘Welsh Ministers’ have authority to rule on electricity generation projects with a maximum installed capacity between 10mw and 50mw. The three projects we’re looking at range from 12.5mw to 17.5mw.

Though according to the capture below from the ‘Welsh Government’s website the decision should be made by the Planning Inspectorate, which is what happened initially with Hendy, before Lesley Griffiths intervened.

click to enlarge

So who’s promoting these schemes, who are ‘the developers’ I’ve referred to?


Each of these projects has its own company: Bryn Blaen Wind Farm Ltd, Rhoscrowther Wind Farm Ltd and Hendy Wind Farm Ltd. But all these companies have the same registered office address, 7a Howick Place, London SW1P 1DZ.

A director of all three companies is Steven John Radford who seems to take another slice of the Welsh wind farm cake through his consultancy, Njord Energy Ltd, which sounds comfortingly Scandinavian. (Though he obviously farmed out some work to Cunnane Town Planning of London and Manchester.)

In September Radford branched out again with Bute Energy Ltd, joining six days after its two founding directors. Bute Energy is in the electricity business, the production, transmission, distribution and trade of electricity to be exact. Will this be electricity generated in Wales?

Also involved somewhere in these projects has been Viento Environmental Ltd, of Shrewsbury, yet another consultancy, this one run by Fran Iribar, whose Linkedin profile mentions the three wind farm sites we’re dealing with here plus a number of others in Wales.

Have you noticed yet? Three projects in Wales – no Welsh involvement whatsoever!

What a system! You don’t need to be a nationalist to see how wrong this is. It’s basic economics.

Whatever their roles, Aaron and Partners of Chester, Viento of Shrewsbury, Njord and the rest, are all bit-part players, with everything being directed from London by the U and I Group plc. Which was quick to celebrate Lesley Griffiths’ intervention in the Hendy project.

A curious beast, U and I. It was known as Development Securities plc until 5 November 2015. And on the very same day a previous incarnation of the U and I Group Ltd changed its name to Development Securities Ltd.

We often come across shape-shifting and Lazarus-like resurrections on this blog. Think Paul and Rowena Williams, of Weep for Wales fame, with their Rural Retreats & Leisure Ltd and Rural Retreats & Leisure UK Ltd (which even confused an Employment Tribunal!); and recently, in Wilmslow-sur-Mer, we sobbed for Natural Retreats UK Ltd . . . only for it to be brought back to us by resurrectionists from ‘Ol’ Virginny’, who just happen to be closely linked with those behind the expired company.

Offshore companies are also favoured by Marcus Owen Shepherd, Matthew Simon Weiner and Richard Upton, prominent figures in this deliberately confusing tangle of companies, but they’re not really offshore at all. Certainly that was the decision arrived at last year by HMRC which concluded that Development Securities (No 9) was trying to pull a fast one.

I’m sure you’re as shocked as I was to learn that there might be something underhand, dishonest even, about tax havens and offshore hideaways. Whatever next!

Not only that, but U + I’s Welsh assets are already sold or up for sale. The panel below comes from the latest accounts (for y/e 28.02.2018) of the group received by Companies House 01.08.2018. It suggests that the Bryn Blaen wind farm has either been sold or is about to be sold, giving the group a profit of £6 – 8 million.

click to enlarge

Perhaps more significantly, U + I is also confident of raising £10 -12 million from Hendy and Rhoscrowther. We now know that Hendy seems to be in the bag, but are they still holding out hopes for Rhoscrowther? Either way, how could they be so confident months ago? Did they know something we didn’t or was it just blind optimism linked to share prices?


Back in 2017, on April 27 to be exact, there was a curious scene played out at a meeting of Powys County Council’s planning committee. At a point in the meeting after the committee had refused planning permission for Hendy and was about to discuss further conditions for Bryn Blaen, a woman who had been sitting with the developers tried to hand a note to one of the committee members.

The woman had to be forcefully ushered away. She was recognised as a lobbyist, working for Invicta Public Affairs, a company based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The company is run by Mark Cummings, who boasts, “We specialise in advising private businesses how best to promote their commercial interests by overcoming barriers to enterprise caused by the UK national and devolved policy and regulatory framework.”

Cummings seems to operate in Wales through Invicta Public Affairs (Wales) Ltd, which has never been anything more than a name, with a Newcastle address, but clearly it has employees in Wales. So who was the mystery woman?

It was Anna McMorrin, who had been recruited by Invicta in October 2016 for no reason other than she was a Labour Party insider, having joined the party when she was a student, and as a result of her subsequent career she knew exactly who to approach to get things done.

As her Wikipedia entry tells us, “After graduating, McMorrin worked in public relations and communications. After working as a part-time communications officer for the Labour Party between 1996-1997, she worked for public affairs consultancy Hill and Knowlton. In 2006, McMorrin became Campaigns and Communications Director for Friends of the Earth Cymru. In 2008, she joined the Welsh Government as an appointed Specialist Advisor, working with Ministers including Jane Hutt AM, John Griffiths AM and Alun Davies AM.”

While she was working for Alun Davies they began an affair which resulted in both leaving their long-term partners. They now live together.

In the general election of June 2017 Anna McMorrin was elected Labour MP for Cardiff North.


U + I and/or Development Securities planned three wind farms of a size so that even if the local planning committees voted against them then their bacon could be saved by the Planning Inspectorate or, as a last resort, the ‘Welsh Government’.

To help them carry through this plan they employed Mark Cummings, useful for his expertise in dealing with devolved administrations. Cummings then needed someone who was a Labour insider, so he recruited Anna McMorrin.

No doubt, the developers had hoped to get planning permission for all three developments, netting them as much as £20 million. Being more realistic, they were probably prepared to settle for two out of three. But the High Court going against them on Rhoscrowther in September meant they were left with just Bryn Blaen, and so they were only going to make a small profit.

The High Court couldn’t be challenged over Rhoscrowther so pressure was applied to Lesley Griffiths to overturn the Hendy decision. And she came good.

Who applied the pressure to Lesley Griffiths? Well, Anna McMorrin fits the identikit picture issued.

Another reason I suspect Lesley Griffiths hadn’t planned on making the Hendy intervention is because the Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Secretary couldn’t even come up with a plausible reason for her action.

We’ve just read that she argued the Hendy wind farm was in the ‘national interest’, but in point 4 of that letter to Aaron and Partners of Chester she also quoted from the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 which, ” . . . requires the Welsh Ministers, as a public body, to ensure the development and use of land contributes towards improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales”.

I have a question for you, Lesley Griffiths.

Will you please explain how Wales benefits from being exploited by London property developers and their assorted hangers-on all over England?

There is no Welsh benefit whatsoever from the Hendy wind farm, or the other two; Wales already produces more electricity than we need, so I can only assume that Lesley Griffiths is acting in the ‘national interest’ of some other country.

Which makes her clumsy and questionable behaviour another example of London’s management team in Cardiff making sure that Wales does what it’s supposed to do – serve the interests of England.

click to enlarge

The truth is that Lesley Griffiths made an indefensible decision under undue and possibly illegal pressure. If I’m wrong, let her justify overturning the planning inspector’s decision on Hendy wind farm.

With her earlier support for those seeking to dispossess Welsh farmers, dealt with here in The Welsh Clearances, and now with this decision to further serve alien interests, Lesley Griffiths has, in just over a month, proven herself to be the enemy of Wales and its people.

There should be no way for this wretched and duplicitous woman to hold any position, even in a body as discredited as that which masquerades as the Government of Wales.

The Labour Party and its various appendages are a poison corrupting Welsh public and political life. There is no hope for honesty and openness, progress and prosperity, until this poison is drawn and Wales is made healthy.

♦ end ♦

UPDATE 19:50: I am indebted to Karen Roden for her comment to my Facebook page telling me that Lesley Griffiths did something very similar earlier in the year with her decision to over-rule a planning inspector who had supported Denbighshire County Council’s refusal of Pant y Maen wind farm on the Denbigh Moors.

This development was promoted by Pant y Maen Wind Ltd of Oxfordshire. Though this company seems to have been controlled by Brenig Wind Ltd, a company run by Chinese citizens giving an address in France. The accounts are overdue at Companies House and I suspect we shall hear no more of Brenig Wind.

Though victory was claimed by Natural Power, which has an office in Aberystwyth. Note that the report I’ve linked to thinks that Lesley Griffiths is part of the UK Government!

In April, soon after Lesley Griffiths gave consent for Pant y Maen wind farm, control passed via a couple of LLPs to Guy and Julia Hands, residents of Guernsey.

Once again, no Welsh involvement, and I guarantee that those I’ve mentioned don’t give a toss about the environment – it’s all about the money. So we despoil our country, inflate our electricity bills, to enrich bastards like these.

Is Lesley Griffiths too stupid to understand how she’s being used?


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possibly substantially off post but came across this article in Law Gazette website

“The bar’s representative body has rejected chief constables’ assertions that providing real-time translation to Welsh speakers in police stations in Wales is unreasonable and disproportionate.”

No doubt the Chiefs have no problem providing translators for our [fairly]
recent eastern European and other global settlers in Wales?

most interesting are the comments provided by the odd English colonial interloper.

I find most lawyers in wales to be socialist/labour in outlook – hardly surprising when you are just grabbing other people’s money or state legal aid. Surprised they have not kicked up a fuss locally but left to the London Bar Council to comment and complain?

The Welsh and welsh speakers are already the second class citizens to the new English Ra[es].

Eric herrieven

What a corrupt bunch of crooks. Exploiting the welsh people and the enviornment for profit.


I notice that the Welsh Government have been active bullshitting about wild fish stocks of Salmon and Sewin.

According to Welsh Ministers, eco-lobby and numerous reports in the media it’s Welsh farmers that are to blame. Whilst there’s no doubt that an individual ‘slurry escape into stream’ from a dairy farm can cause temporary damage to the water course, this does not explain the overall decline, as we can see from the Irish experience.

In Ireland (which has higher bovine stocking per hectare than Wales) there has been a much smaller decline in fish stocks and in some years, increases. They have not only introduced monitoring on each river but, being an independent country, have specific legislation to protect stocks, including ‘conservation limits’, and monitor stock levels with a gill tagging programme.

So what really causes ‘declines’ in Salmon and Sewin in our rivers (besides the main factor of commercial trawlers out at sea)? The answer lies with the largest dataset that was collected by the Nature Conservancy Council in the 1970’s, in an area where other ‘man-made’ factors like housing, farming, sewage and industrial pollution were absent.

It’s in the ‘Flow Country’ in northern Scotland. It found the crucial factor was ‘microfauna’ in streams that drain from upland peat bogs. This is the spawning ground and nursery of migratory fish. Not only that, it found the damage to this food stock was mainly caused by forestation.

It found that if you plant trees on inland peat and grassland you will have a dramatic effect on steams and rivers. Forestation of these areas causes greatest damage. Which begs the question as to why the Welsh Government wants to plant trees all over the Cambrian mountains, and supporting the eco-migrants, those who do real damage these areas.

Wales should cut the bullshit. Collect the data and do some scientific studies. The experience of Ireland and Scotland proves that ‘farming’ is not the problem. The problem is caused by planting trees on peat bogs and upland grass. This is killing the acidic upstream ecosystem compounded by abstraction of adult fish out at sea. Don’t blame the farmers.
comment image

It’s also the case that the access roads, transmission lines and concrete footing for wind turbines do significantly more damage to upland areas than Blodwen the sheep or Daisy the cow.


Brychan says – “It’s also the case that the access roads, transmission lines and concrete footing for wind turbines do significantly more damage to upland areas than Blodwen the sheep or Daisy the cow.”

That fact was much publicised when the windfarm carpetbaggers started building access roads and carrying out all the other civils and structural work on a site at the northern end of Elenydd ( Cambrian Mountains ) yet it was ignored by all parties, both those in government and in opposition. Critics who were able to describe in detail the damage done to carbon deposits, natural flood prevention mechanisms, and the pollution caused by the manufacture and construction(assembly) of turbines were dismissed as cranks and Luddites.

As yet I have not seen an honest appraisal of investment in large scale wind turbines that shows real value for money. Strip out the grants grabbed and you have a real recipe for burning a hole in your finances. So the grants being grabbed, inflated selling prices of power generated and title over land assets are the only justification for this madness. Similar investment in marine technology would have put us much further ahead in “sustainability”, but there again that another word with a high bullshit value.

max wallis

The UK Infrastructure Commission report in July sees offshore wind turbines and nuclear power as the alternatives to meet the 2050 target of decarbonising electricity. Counts out tidal lagoons, but multiple other measures for storage, demand-side controls as well. Concludes that renewables majoring on offshore wind is more flexible, less risky and likely cheaper than nuclear power – what’s your view on their wind-power appraisal?


Max – Has anyone done a detailed analysis for public consumption of the costs of building wind turbines offshore. Given the size of these structures there must be a substantial input of subsea foundations and platforms as well as material reinforcement of the towers and moving parts. I suspect that these things suffer from the same problems as land based in that they can’t operate ( on safety grounds ) when the wind is above a certain threshold.
Marine Turbines arrayed offshore in clearly defined channels do not suffer from this disadvantage so why aren’t policy makers accelerating development programmes aimed at the elimination of engineering/technical obstacles ? I would certainly favour this type of solution ahead of visible turbines ( on sea or land) and the hazards of nuclear technology especially the waste issue means we should not rely on it as a major source. Additional benefit can be obtained from using a solar panel cladding on buildings to generate “inhouse” supplies, while a type of horizontal wind turbine has been proven to work on top of high rise buildings without the risks that attend the tall tower variety.

max wallis

I wouldn’t expect to see detailed economics. Companies are competing and keep secret their economies in construction methods. But they are talking as if the next generation could be economic without subsidy, though still expect bids for CfD subsidy. There’s also a proposal for floating structures – triangular with 3 turbines – which would save installation costs/problems and suit deep water.


I have always found there is a ‘superficial understanding’ of green issues within Plaid Cymru. Wind turbines are just one example. Plaid Cymru have also just jumped in the ‘all trees are good’ bandwagon just to appeal to the eco-settler vote, this at the expense of the homes and well-being of the native Welsh population.

I do not belive this is genuine ignorance. An example of this can be seen in Aberystwyth with the ‘Black Polar Tree’ issue.

Cllr Strong and Cllr Hemmel are behind this..

The ‘Black Polar’ (Poplysen Ddu, Sir Fflint) is a tree native to alluvial bogs and riverbanks, most common on the fens of East Anglia, the Severn floodplain of Shropshire, the banks of the Dyfrdwy and on the Somerset levels. It’s rare and protected, very desirable as it ‘binds’ clay river banks. It was often planted elsewhere from cuttings by civic developers at the turn of the last century because it is fast growing and provides a fast growing canopy. It’s also known as the ‘Manchester Poplar’ for this very reason.

The issue is that, being a heavy canopy tree native to boggy lowlands is that it’s root structure is fast growing and very wide. It an urban setting it’s destructive and invasive. Roots are thirsty in summer, expanding and contracting according the water availability. Horticulturalists recommend planting it some distance away from buildings, roads and footpaths, as it is known to destroy drains, building foundations and paths/roadways.

There is no gardener, house builder, or arborist who would recommend planting such a species in a close urban environment. The recommended alternative is a variety of the plane tree, which does not manifest the same issues.

Note1 – The issue in Aberystwyth is completely different from the Roath Brook felling in Cardiff. The Cardiff felling was based on a flawed (non-existent) flood prevention scheme. Most of the trees felled were of other, native, and more desirable trees. In fact, most of the black poplar trees at Roath Brook were left standing, which is bizarre as the roots of these trees will bind-up the stream causing flooding.

Note2 – The black poplar should not be confused with the lombardy poplar, the tall column tree, often planted in rows to protect vineyards and orchards from frost damage.

Note3 – The other trees earmarked for replacement in Aberystwyth are Monterey Cypress, native to California, a variegation of which is the dreaded Leylandii.

max wallis

The Petition says
five semi-mature poplars, including a rare black poplar, together with thirty three Monterey Cypress trees

So the black poplar is only one of the 38 trees. If it’s protected, doesn’t the Council have to dig a trench and put in a root barrier for that one? Why do they want to fell the others?


I digress but it’s part of the “big picture” of assimilation and eradication. Here is yet another case of a “national” institution being used to marginalise Welsh ( even Anglo-Welsh) culture using imported AngloBrit projects and players at every opportunity.


Unfortunately there’s a type of black, or person of other BAME ethic origin, mostly so-called educated, who are content to do just about anything to be considered “English” in the good old Anglo Brit supremacist meaning. They find it easy to forget how the British Empire in its colonialist heyday abused them in every way possible, as if them being able to climb out of their subordinated position undoes all the harm done over centuries. They even acquire that supercilious way of speaking down to people – as in the case of Diane Abbott – and a couple of Tory M.P’s whose names I didn’t catch who’ve been spouting on various T.V programmes recently about Brexit.


That kind of behaviour is typical of a moron who has adopted the style of the “Mother country”. But to challenge him is dismissed as “waycist” so these bastards are allowed to be offensive in their own inimitable way.


I see on Linkedin Mark Cummings writes: “If you need to do business with Government then you need to do business with Invicta.” That’s reassuring then. Is it coincidence that the Cardiff great and good have resisted transparency in lobbying by requiring a register?


Wind turbines have been a bee in my bonnet for many years. They are big money earners for land owners David Cameron’s father in law being one them. It annoys me immensely to hear on the news of a new wind farm being built that can power so many homes. Having worked all my life in the electrical industry I was never once taught that a “home” was a measure of electricity. Electricity is measured in watts, kilowatts, megawatts etc. If a home is a measure of electricity and a wind farm for instance can power 8000 homes, does that mean that the windfarm generates enough electricity in a year to satisfy 8000 homes or is it when the windfarm is generating at its best it could satisfy 8000 homes at that instance. There would be a big difference between the two. The term homes used by the wind energy fraternity is used merely to dupe Joe Public.


Anon. Science defines watts=watts*amps. So at 240V a current of 10A results in 2.4KW, a typical energy consumption of an electric heater. For energy converted into mechanical energy using alternating current at 50 cycles per second, or 50Hz, we have to consider the phase of the cycle, this is known as the PowerFactor.

There is a new unit of measure used for renewable electricity. The bullshit. It is defined as bullshit=announcement*tweets. So for 10announcements we have 20tweets, thus giving 2kilobullshits. If the tweets don’t get sufficient traction, we then have to consider the media cycle of information, which unlike engineering only works Mon-Fri, giving us the PowerPoint.

The correct measure of generation is to apply a measure of time.

So Mw (million watts) over and hour, giving us MwH. Wind farms are only 12 to 20% efficient, so 2.4kw only produces 0.48kw of capacity at maximum. This explains why, for example, a 24Mw wind farm only produces 4.8MwH of capacity, the difference being provided by other generating capacity.

So when you hear a wind farm is capable of supplying 8000 homes, what that actually means is that over a one hour period, only 1600 average homes can be catered for, the remaining 6400 homes being powered by fossil fuel generation (nuclear output cannot be varied). This maths nails the relationship between the watt and the bullshit.

Wind farms are only partial renewable as they depend on fossil fuel generation to work. The only truly renewable generation is tidal or passive hydro, where the efficiency and reliability of generation capacity can be constant over a number of hours.

The only way to make wind generation 100% renewable is to have storage capacity at the point of consumption. The technology for this already exists. It is the storage heater (invented in the 1970s), the GSM phone signal (invented in the 1980s) and the smart distribution grid (invented in the 1990s). In this way it is possible to draw load when a wind farm is generating, storing energy for use when it is not, thus negating the need for fossil fuel supplement.


Brilliant Brychan. I must try and incorporate the phrase “2kilobullshits” in my next letter to Welsh Government.


The most recent edition of the Green Gospel dismisses “Kilobullshit” as a legitimate measure of hot air because the methane content of bullshit is not a reliable constant, as it varies depending on what the bull is fed.

There is a further ethical objection based on the evidence of force feeding of bulls. This is currently being debated by Green groups across the world and causing the kind of schisms not experienced since earlier major splits among totalitarian parties way back in the 1st half of the 20th century. Indeed these current splits may rank up there with those deep divisions among Welsh nonconformists. Common examples of extreme secterian violence include people not talking to each other, and slamming of doors (on way in and out).

John Raymond Dore

VA=voltsamps Real power is watts=voltsampspowerfactor 2010=200 not 2000 ie not 2K

John Raymond Dore

VA=voltsxamps Real power is watts=voltsxampsxpowerfactor 20×10=200 not 2000 ie not 2K previous post removed asterisks!!!

Kris Moore

Brilliant – thanks for that. Do you think we might incorporate a Roger Harrabin factor which would increase the kilobullshit (kBS could be the SI unit) by a factor of 3. Are we free to use or would you like to be credited?

Kris Moore

Clue is in the name – Natural RESOURCES Wales. But this is the action of a Welsh Government – or should I said a government from Cardiff. If you can tune into Kumbaya somewhere you should read this


It’s possible,just possible, that Wales was better off under Westminster than this appalling Welsh government who understands nothing of rural Wales economy and cares even less and for whom landscape is a dirty word. Their endless crusade to remove every last vestige of localism and local democracy leaves Welsh people back in the dark ages. Whilst Lesley Griffiths and her cohorts are in a position of power there is no hope for our lovely, culturally rich land. Ty


Have you noticed that SCAM 8 – referred to the WAG as TAN 8 – has selected areas for large scale wind farms, all of which contain large tracts of forestry land managed indirectly by the WAG? Is this a coincidence?

What a big surprise that wind farms planted on forestry land generate revenue for the WAG.

Isn’t it surprising that wind power was the preferred (only) method touted by WAG in SCAM 8 for generating electricity by “renewable” technology.


NRW – an agency leading the exploitation and depletion of Wales’ natural resource wealth without benefiting native Welsh populace. Sounds, smells and looks like colonialism, so it must be !

Penguin Farmer

I. The planning system is stacked heavily in favour of developers.

II. Question to Lesley Griffiths: Does the “national interest” include the torturing of law abiding citizens people who were living peacefully in their own homes … until they were subjected, against their will, to live in the acoustic shadows of one or more industrial wind turbines?

III. My wife has been a wind turbine refugee for the past 2.5 years. She could no longer endure the sonic torture inflicted on her by the low frequency and infrasonic noise which had plagued her for nearly 10 years. Nor could she tolerate any longer the deterioration in her health caused by constant exposure the low frequency and infrasonic noise pollution emissions from a steadily growing number of industrial wind turbines.

The first wind farm she could hear was 25 miles away, but as the implements of sonic torture grew larger in number and marched closer to home with the passing of time, she finally bolted like a scared rabbit 2.5 years ago. She is a victim of a flawed WAG renewable energy policy, yet there is no compensation for her or others in similar positions.

You may argue that wind farm noise doesn’t harm people, but through 10 years of observations my wife and I know otherwise.

IV. Creation of ETSU-R-97 noise guidelines for the Windustry:
The problem of low frequency noise (20-200 Hz frequency) and infrasound (below 20 Hz in frequency) emissions by industrial wind turbines has been know about by the windustry since the early 1980s, thanks to 8 years of field and lab research headed by NASA.

In fact in 1987 Dr Neil Kelley, the head scientist of the research team, informed the windustry that using A-weighted measurements in wind farm noise assessment guidelines and protocols WOULD NOT afford protection of people’s health and enjoyment of their amenities.

In 1995 the UK govt established the Noise Working Group (NWG) – a group predominantly comprised of council planning leaders and windustry representatives. The remit of the NWG was to draw up a set of noise guidelines and protocols to facilitate development of the windustry in the UK, without placing undue burden on the windustry.

Use of A-weighted readings (despite Dr. Kelley’s warning in 1987) was one of the numerous protocols adopted in the ETSU guidelines which were deliberately designed so as to NOT measure a very large proportion of the noise emissions from industrial wind turbines. (See Note 1 below.) To that extent the NWG were successful.

In 1996 ETSU-R-97 guidelines were approved by the NWG – i.e. guidelines established with a very big collaboration by the windustry. ETSU-R-97 cannot be describe as a set of guidelines drafted by an impartial group.

1. ETSU guidelines, procedures and protocols were deliberately designed so that most of the noise emitted by industrial wind turbines would not be measured – ie. a fix by the windustry (with govt support) to establish the windustry in the UK.

ETSU disclaimer at the front of the document:
“This report was drawn up under the direction of the Noise Working Group. While the information contained in this report is given in good faith, it is issued strictly on the basis that any person or entity relying on it does so entirely at their own risk, and without the benefit of any warranty or commitment whatsoever on the part of the individuals or organisations involved in the report as to the veracity or accuracy of any facts or statements contained in this report. The views and judgements expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ETSU, the Department of Trade and Industry or any of the other participating organisations.”

My interpretation of the disclaimer:
i) The disclaimer states that any person or company relies on the ETSU guidelines at their own risk,
ii) The individuals and organisations involved with drafting the report cannot be held liable for people or organisations relying on its recommendations.
iii) The govt has distanced itself from the report by stating it is NOT responsible for the guidelines and recommendations, even though they commissioned the guidelines and the terms of reference for the NWG.

ETSU recommendation to review the guidelines in 2 years time (ie. 1998)
“The report was drafted in the light of the best information available at the time. However it is acknowledged that as more experience and information become available and as circumstances develop it may become necessary to revise and improve the contents of this report. The Noise Working Group therefore suggests this report and its recommendations are reviewed in two years time. To this end, any comments on the usefulness of the report would be most welcome, including any suggestions for improvement with any supporting evidence where possible.”

NOTE: To my knowledge ETSU-R-97 guidelines have never been reviewed or updated. No govt has ever wanted to rock the boat.

Since the ETSU-R-97 guidelines were established in 1996, industrial wind turbines have grown significantly in size. This means that even more of their noise emissions are in the low frequency and infrasound spectrum … most of the noises in this spectrum are DISCOUNTED by ETSU-R-97 protocols and procedures. Yet successive govts refuse to update ETSU-R-97 guidelines.


Penguin farmer: Have I got this right? The UK and Welsh Governments have promoted the wind-power industry without knowing whether the ETSU guidelines are accurate or not?

What are the potential risks to health? If your wife’s mental or physical health has suffered because of proximity to turbines whose safety risk from noise pollution has not been accurately assessed, isn’t this grounds for legal action?


Wrexhamian, It’s not a question of the ETSU guidelines being accurate. The guidelines were developed for the specific purpose of facilitating development of the wind industry in the UK, without placing undue burden on the wind industry. For that purpose ETSU guidelines were effective.

However, for the purpose of protecting people’s health and enabling people to enjoy their own amenities, the ETSU guidelines are not fit for purpose. The guidelines were just a political fix to ensure the wind industry could operate almost with impunity. And successive govts in Westminster are complicit in allowing the wind industry to continue using these inappropriate guidelines.

They knew, thanks to the body of NASA research conducted throughout most of the 1980’s, that low frequency and infrasound noise can cause health problems in a proportion of the population. The ETSU guidelines were drawn up to avoid measuring most of the noise.

The noise working group (NWG) comprised mostly of industry reps and county planners. The industry reps knew that the guidelines and protcols adopted in ETSU would NOT measure the bulk of the noise emissions from industrial wind turbines (ie. low frequency and infrasound spectra … that is, most of the noise below 200 Hz in frequency).

They did this in 2 main ways:
1) By adopting an A-weighted filter to assess noise readings. The A-weighted filters a proportion of the lower frequency noise spectrum. And the lower the frequency, the greater the proportion of noise filtered out – in other words, much of the acoustic energy is discarded – it’s not measured.

2) By using noise averaging protocols which smooth out the massive pressure pulses caused by the blades passing the tower. Those pressure pulses are a major factor in annoying people and causing health problems in a proportion of people.

If you want to read a more in depth article on this, the Australian blog wrote an excellent article several years ago. Within the post there’s a link to a timeline of research carried out by NASA and other researchers, and also who knew what and when.

Kris Moore

Dull moment here – but what does “ETSU” stand for I mean the acronym rather than “wind lobbyists tell the govt what to do”.


Energy & Technology Support Unit … now known as AEA.

Ricardo-AEA was formed by acquisition of AEA Technology. AEA Technology has previously been known as the Energy Technology Support Unit (ETSU), many reports published under this name are still in circulation. AEA Technology was, for a time, also re-branded as “Future Energy Solutions (incorporating the Energy Technology Support Unit (ETSU))”

Kris Moore

Thank you



The ETSU guidelines are based on the assumption and thus measures of volume and sound frequency. This assumption is wrong. We need to consider the effect on how people (and other mammals/birds/insects) experience ‘noise’.

The best explanation is the recent expansion of the Göteborg (Swedish) tram system into the city suburbs. It was assumed that a ‘noise’ nuisance would occur so the city authorities monitored the decibel output at key points in the network thinking the introduction of “buzz” from electric motors and the “grinding” of wheels on the track would be the issue. The network was constructed so the tram lines ran down the central reservation of the avenues, and crossed points at intersections where automated traffic lights controlled vehicle traffic. These points also had an audio warning of ‘bongs’, to warn pedestrians of an approaching tram. The ‘bongs’ are a sound like when you turn the ignition on in a Volvo before attaching your seatbelt.

Surprisingly, the residents complained, not about disturbance by noise, but disturbance by it’s absence. Most sleep complaints peaked at around 0400hrs on a Saturday. This was strange as the trams are only sent to the outer suburbs at that time of the morning Mon-Fri to cope with the commuter peak. There were no trams at 0400hrs on Saturdays. So what explains this anomaly?

The sleep disturbance was as a result of ‘unusual sound’ interrupting the body clock. In this case, it’s absence, and the solution was to run the tram intersection points even though a tram was NOT approaching. Points at intersections and ‘bongs’ were played so it was consistent, throughout the night, and consistent even on weekends. It became known as the “ghost trams of Göteborg”.

This is the issue with ‘noise’ from wind farms. It is not the volume of the ‘swish’ or ‘rumble’; it’s the inconsistent and erratic pattern of the disturbance. To a casual visitor of the environs of a wind farm the noise is barely detectable, but to residents, 24/7, it’s a menace. It interrupts the body clock and causes stress. This is measurable and is also known as ‘shift work syndrome’ in occupational health.

The effect has also been measured on the sea bird populations around wind farms on the Scottish islands. It isn’t the turbine blades splattering seagulls. It’s the noise that tells the birds not to fly out to sea to feed as they think it’s too choppy due to infrasound. It results in birds not feeding when the weather is just “a bit breezy” but they think it’s actually “blowing a hoolie”. The barely detectable ‘noise’ of a wind farm has a dramatic effect on body weight and reproductive efficiency of the sea bird population by cutting the perceived feeding opportunities.

Obviously, in Wales, the eco-lobby blame declining bird populations, microfauna decline in mountain streams, butterfly decline around wind farms and all that – is ‘the fault of the farmers’ and nothing to do with wind farms. Perhaps they should be introduced to the example of “Swedish ghost trams”. It’s the erratic and inconsistent nature of noise disturbance that affects. Putting a wind turbine on cow pasture results in less milk yield, because they moo all through the night reassuring the rest of the herd.

John Raymond dore

Excellent article. I spent over £30K of my own money fighting the Bryn Blaen windfarm right the way to the High Court. This windfarm has remained idle for over 6 months. Further it is an unwelcome blot on the landscape. In the course of time the perpetrators will hopefully be brought to face justice. Notice too how much some windfarms are being paid not to produce electricity when there is too much electricity available to be generated. Alas these schemes do not allow generation on demand. Tidal barriers would be much better.


Green lobby combined with corporate chancers is a toxic mix for our country. Any government that appears thick enough to set up a reward system for being idle is obviously a deviant crowd. And just look at them fixing Brexit !


Correct. They are wind powered subsidy generators.

Max Wallis

Anna McMorrin did, nominally, work for FoE Cymru, but some/much of the time she was seconded to Jane Davidson’s office just when the latter was being advised or decided to ignore FoE’s submissions against adopting the policy for incineration of waste. Anna McMorrin provided no feedback to us anti-incineration campaigners, on the excuse that what she learned in the Minister’s office was confidential.
That incineration policy was a disaster. Based on local ‘high efficiency’ incinerators providing heat and power, the heat going to local industry. Instead we got transnational companies building giant incinerators and wasting all the heat Viridor-Cardiff, Wheelabrator-Deeside (Covanta failed at Myrthyr) . The officer promoting it Andy Rees succeeded to the post of Head of Waste Strategy, and sometimes Head of Waste and Circular Economy Strategy, because he invented the uniquely Welsh idea that burning waste and reusing the ashes can be counted as “Recycling” and sold it to Jane Davidson, who retired to lecture on sustainability with the Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness created for her at Univ Wales TSD.
Wasn’t the post of Campaigns and Communications Director invented for Anna McMorrin, for it disappeared with her joining the Welsh Govt properly? We were told “seconded” to Jane Davidson’s office, but was she not paid by them rather than from FoE’s limited budget? I noticed little benefit to FoE Cymru, so was the post cover for the move from the public affairs consultancy? .