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City pair ease fear of 'turbine flicker' ENERGY: Aston Uni scientists draw up guidelines to stop people having seizures.

Byline: By Alison Dayani HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

BIRMINGHAM scientists have made a breakthrough that could stop people having seizures brought on by a renewable energy source.

Graham and Pamela Harding, researchers at Aston University, have worked with Arnold Wilkins from Essex University to discover that fast-flickering wind turbines could provoke attacks. Their work shows that if wind turbines rotate more than 60 times a minute, their shadow flicker can bring on harmful side-effects to people close by.

They have now developed guidelines to minimise the effect of wind turbines for council planning officials, which are set to make wind farms across the region and country much safer.

A university spokesman said: "Planning permission for wind farms often consider flicker but current guidelines relate to annoyance and are based on physical or engineering considerations rather than the danger to people who may be photosensitive.

"They found that turbines that rotate faster or have more blades will produce unacceptable levels of flicker.

"In addition, photosensitive people would need to be at least four kilometres away to significantly reduce the possibility of seizures, a distance approximately 100 times the height of an average turbine.

"The researchers also found that on wind farms the shadows cast by one turbine on another should not be in public sight if the cumulative flash rate exceeds three per second and that turbine blades should not be reflective."

Wind turbines are an environmentally-friendly way of producing energy that is being encouraged by the Government.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 6, 2008
Words:245
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