Senate committee for the Australian government has tabled seven recommendations for moving forward with health concerns about wind turbines. A new report published June 23 called ‘The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms’ states, “The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government initiate as a matter of priority thorough, adequately resourced epidemiological and laboratory studies of the possible effects of wind farms on human health.”
The landmark report was prepared by a special Senate Committee looking into the health concerns surrounding wind turbines installations in Australia. The committee also encouraged submissions from around the world. Many international groups participated such as The Society for Wind Vigilance.
One submission to the Senate inquiry came from Dr. Geoff Leventhall, a coauthor of the American/Canadian wind industry sponsored 2009 report. Dr Leventhall has previously said he accepts reported symptoms which include sleep disturbance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, and panic attack episodes associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering when awake or asleep.
Leventhall, who testified for Suncor during the appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal on the Suncor Kent-Breezes Wind farm approval, stated these symptoms have been known to him ‘for many years as the symptoms of extreme psychological stress from environmental noise, particularly low frequency noise. The symptoms have been published before…’.
The committee also recommends that “noise standards adopted by the states and territories for the planning and operation of rural wind farms should include appropriate measures to calculate the impact of low frequency noise and vibrations indoors at impacted dwellings.”
John Laforet, President of Wind Concerns Ontario sees this report as a good step forward. “Currently in Ontario there are no requirements for addressing wind turbine low frequency sound inside or outside homes. In fact Ministry of Environment (MOE) field officers can’t properly measure any kind of noise according to a recently published internal Ministry email.”
Meanwhile, the Australian report states that “…a significant number of submissions gave actual accounts of serious symptoms of ill health that witnesses said occurred after wind turbines began operating in close proximity to their residences.”
“Here in Ontario we have sick people abandoning their homes because of irresponsible wind development.” Laforet went on to say. “Yet we have the president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association requesting to the MOE that low frequency noise monitoring be removed as a condition of a Renewable Energy Approval. It’s clear that the voice of one lobbyist carries more weight than the pleas of Ontario residents.”