Kristel and Luke Foukart never gave up on the “windmill syndrome” issue. According to them, the turbines, which were placed hundreds of meters from their homes in 2008, caused health problems. The couple reported headache, insomnia, depression, dizziness, tinnitus, nausea, and irregular heartbeat. The complaints are said to have started five years after the wind turbine was installed.
We didn’t understand it right away, but gradually we realized that the problem came from the turbines. They blink every two seconds. “We needed external lights to counteract the effect of the flashes,” Christel Foukart told Belgian newspaper De Morgen. The couple lived near six windmills. The health problems, caused mainly by noise and light pollution, are said to have been exacerbated after a forest was cut down between the house and the mills. In 2015, Fockaerts decided to move, after which, they said, the symptoms disappeared.
Initially, the Custer court dismissed the couple’s complaint. However, the Court of Appeal in Toulouse has now ruled in their favour. The companies responsible for the mills now owe the couple 128,000 euros. Although doctors have not been able to identify any actual health problems and “windmill syndrome” is not officially recognized as a disease in France, the couple are indeed victims of the syndrome, according to an expert report prepared at the request of the court.
According to Alice Terras, Fockaerts’ attorney, the case is unprecedented. She stressed that the ruling should serve as a warning to companies installing wind turbines, so that in the future they should also consider the impact on local residents.
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