French Resistance: Couple Collect €100,000 In Damages For Wind Turbine Noise Nuisance

The grinding, thumping cacophony generated by giant industrial wind turbines delivers wholly unnecessary misery worldwide. Sleep deprivation is first among the list of adverse health effects caused by these things and the pulsing low-frequency noise they generate.

The wind industry has fought tooth and nail to avoid the consequences of the harm it dishes out, mostly with impunity.

However, increasingly its victims are fighting back and winning.

One French couple, driven mad and eventually driven out of their home by wind turbine noise have had just such a victory.

French couple win legal fight
The Guardian
Kim Willsher
8 November 2021

A French court has recognised “wind turbine syndrome” after a couple established that their health was damaged by noise from a nearby wind farm.

In what is believed to be the first judgment of its kind in France, Belgians Christel and Luc Fockaert were awarded more than €100,000 in compensation by the judge in Toulouse.

The couple experienced a range of health problems including headaches, insomnia, heart irregularities, depression, dizziness, tinnitus and nausea for more than two years, insisting these were caused by six wind turbines set up 700 metres from their home at Fontrieu in the Tarn, southern France.

The turbines had been installed in 2008. However, it was reported that the couple’s health problems started five years later, after woodland between their property and the nearest turbine was cut down.

They singled out the noise, which they said was “comparable to a washing machine continually turning”, as particularly detrimental to their health. “We didn’t understand straight away, but little by little we realised the problem came from the turbines,” Christel Fockaert said.

The couple moved away from the area in 2015 and said their health problems disappeared shortly afterwards.

The Fockaerts’ case was initially dismissed in January last year but they appealed, saying the judge had ignored the experts’ reports they had commissioned and instead had gone to see for themselves but had spent only an hour at the site of the complaint.

The energy companies Sasu, Margnes Energie and Sasu Singladou Energie, which run the wind factory, were ordered to pay €110,000 in compensation to the couple.

Alice Terrasse, the couple’s lawyer, told French television: “It’s an unusual case and as far as I know there has been no precedent.” She added that the judgment should serve as a warning to those companies setting up windfarms to reflect carefully on their impact on the local population.

Emmanuel Forichon, of the environmental collective Toutes Nos Énergies – Occitanie Environnement (All our Energy – Occitanie Environment) said the ruling was “important and brave”.

“We already consider environmental issues and biodiversity, and occasionally the impact on landscapes, but not enough the issues of human health. This could create a jurisprudence and, above all, make the regulations evolve,” he said.
The Guardian

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November 26, 2021 at 12:31AM

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