- The Washington Times - Monday, November 8, 2021

In what may be the first decision of its kind, a court has ruled that a Belgian couple living in France is entitled to some $127,000 in damages for health problems they say were caused by a nearby energy-producing wind farm.

The couple said they had experienced a range of complaints from the six wind turbines located less than a half-mile from their home in the Tarn region in southern France.

The symptoms, according to a report by the French broadcaster France3, included headaches, insomnia, heart problems, depression and nausea over a two-year period before the couple moved away in 2015.

A French court had rejected the lawsuit in 2020, but the couple appealed, saying authorities had not taken into account growing expert opinion on the dangers of “turbine syndrome” as more windmills are being deployed to generate power around the globe.

It is expected the verdict will produce a flood of similar suits against French utilities, but the lawyer for Christel and Luc Fockaert, the couple who sued, said there were special circumstances with her clients’ case that may not apply elsewhere.

The couple said they only began to experience their health problems years after the turbines were installed, when a tree break separating their house from the windmill farm was cut down.

In their suit, they said the turbines produced a steady hum comparable to a washing machine that never turned off, and that glints of light from the whirling blades also contributed to their health problems.

In addition to the fines they now face, the local French power companies have reportedly changed the lighting and turning speed on turbines in the area.

• David R. Sands can be reached at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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