Library filed under Impact on People from Australia
Fears over adverse health impacts caused by wind farms are being heavily scrutinised during a parliamentary inquiry into the controversial renewable energy source. The Senate select committee inquiry into the regulatory governance and economic impact of wind turbines, established last November, is due to report by August 3.
“The problem is that, in spite of the fact that you say they are the most stringent rules and regulations, people are still claiming to have health effects and annoyance and sleep deprivation. What we are trying to establish here is: what needs to be done to remedy this situation so that people - the general public; the people who are suffering - have a greater sense that they are being listened to and that there are stringent guidelines in place for the development of wind farms.”
"I am usually the last person to support the creation of additional government bureaucracy but when we are directing around $22 billion towards the Renewable Energy Target (RET), the creation of a regulator would be a drop in the bucket," Senator Leyonhjelm says. "Those who justify action on climate change because of the precautionary principle will understand the need to apply the same principle to infrasound."
The “parliament” of Germany’s medical profession has called on its leaders to support a halt to further wind farm developments near housing until more research has been undertaken into the possible health impacts of low-frequency noise from wind turbines.
South-west people adversely affected by wind farms hold little hope that a proposal for them to receive money to relocate will be successful. The proposal was put to the Senate inquiry into wind turbines by former federal government aircraft noise specialist David Southgate, who said funding people to relocate was commonly used by government and industry to manage noise around facilities such as airports and mines.
Senator Day applauded the bravery of landholders opposed to wind farms and said renewable energy operators needed to take their concerns more seriously. “Scientists and doctors are only just beginning to understand the connections between the infrasound emitted from turbines and the impact on the health of nearby residents.”
Sonia Trist moved from Britain to the spectacular rolling hills overlooking the Southern Ocean at Cape Bridgewater in Victoria’s southwest in 2007 knowing that wind turbines would soon surround her new home. What she was not expecting were health problems including sleeplessness, heart palpitations, high blood pressure and dizziness, which she says she began to suffer months after the turbines began operating.
The wind farm company which commissioned a recent groundbreaking study investigating links between health complaints and low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines has told a Senate committee it was “never meant to be a scientific study”.
Chairman Senator John Madigan said there had been health concerns from people living close to turbines and the hearing was a chance for people to share their experiences. ..."My goal and that of the committee is to get to the truth."
In this important interview with acoustic engineer Steven Cooper, Mr. Cooper explains how his study at the Cape Bridgewater wind project came about, why his study is unique, and how to evaluate the results of the study. To listen to the full interview click the link on this page.
Mr Cooper has received further support for his work at Cape Bridgewater from computer scientists in Canada who have been working to record sub-audible noise or infrasound from wind turbines since 2013. Richard Mann, at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, said scientists there had arrived at a similar position to Mr Cooper despite working in a different way. “Our results show that wind turbines emit a characteristic pulsation (change in barometric pressure) that repeats with every blade passage,” Professor Mann said.
An acoustic engineer is threatening to sue the ABC’s Media Watch over claims he and his research on the health effects of windfarms were misrepresented on a recent program. A 16 February episode of Media Watch fiercely criticised a report by the Australian’s environment editor Graham Lloyd that claimed a study by acoustician Steven Cooper had found that people living near windfarms faced a greater risk of suffering health complaints.
Pacific Hydro said it understood some people would be disappointed but considered the National Health and Medical Research Council the appropriate body to co-ordinate further work. The NHMRC said last week that it would commission targeted, high-quality research into the effects of wind farms, including into low- frequency noise and infrasound.
Independent Ballarat-based Senator John Madigan is calling for further research into the impact of wind farms on nearby residents.
Mr Cooper will present the findings of his report — which ranked reported “sensations” experienced by six residents against the operation of the wind farm — to a special meeting in Cape Bridgewater tonight. ...The report has been praised internationally as a “first-of-its-kind test” by some of the world’s most respected and experienced acoustics experts, with firsthand knowledge of wind farm noise.
A scientific researcher whose groundbreaking study into the impact of wind turbines on nearby residents has criticised the ABC’s Media Watch program, saying its journalist hounded his company about alleged media misrepresentations without reading or understanding his report.
Australia's peak medical research agency recommended additional research into the effects of wind farms on health based on the "macro policy environment" rather than the scientific report they commissioned, ignoring objections from senior officials in the NSW and Victorian governments.
Groundbreaking Australian research has established a “cause and effect” existed between wind farms and health impacts on some nearby residents, a peer review by one of the world’s leading acoustic experts says.
In a statement on Wednesday, the National Health and Medical Research Council said research into the complex issue of wind farms and health was limited and of poor quality, with “no consistent evidence” of wind farms causing adverse health effects. But NHMRC chief executive Warwick Anderson said it was “important to say no consistent evidence does not necessarily mean no effect on human health’’.
Dr Christopher Hanning submitted this testimony to the Australian Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines explaining the impact of turbine noise on sleep. The summary of his testimony is provided below. The full submission can be accessed at the links on this page.