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Short- and long-term impact of proposed Collector wind development  

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In summary, we know that people’s health is being harmed who are living within 10km of these large wind turbines, from the well known clinical consequences severe cumulative sleep disturbance, from acute and chronic cumulative physiological and psychological stress, and from a range of characteristic other symptoms, which are thought to relate primarily to vestibular dysfunction of the inner ear at levels of infrasound and low frequency noise previously assumed to be safe (based on Professor Salt and Dr Nina Pierpont’ work).

As previously stated, Dr Pierpont identified in her work that certain groups in the community were at increased risk of developing these vestibular dysfunction symptoms so well known to Professor Leventhall, and they included people with a history of motion sickness, migraines, damage to the inner ear (eg industrial deafness) and those at the extremes of age (the very young, and the elderly). Other researchers such as Dr Bob Thorne have highlighted the plight of those in the community who are particularly noise sensitive (eg children & adults with autism). The Waubra Foundation’s field work has confirmed Dr Pierpont’s findings of these susceptibilities, with over 100 residents having provided information to us. …

In conclusion, if this proposed Collector Wind Development is approved, it is inevitable that it will have a serious cumulative and predictable adverse effect on the physical and mental health of the surrounding population out to at least 10km, and may even drive some families, out of their homes over the life of the project, because of the cumulative effects of chronic exposure to ILFN. There may also be adverse health effects for some people in some locations from EMF, seismic vibrations and rapid fluctuations in barometric pressure.

Sleep disturbance alone is well known to increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, suppress immunity, and result in poor mental health. It also increases the risks of accidents, including driving, and operating farming machinery. Farming is already acknowledged as having high accident rates compared with other occupations, and sleep deprivation is already taking its toll on the health of farmers because of accidents they are reporting, where fatigue is also reported as a contributing factor. All these are being reported at many existing wind developments, in addition to the other well described “wind turbine syndrome” symptoms, well known to some acousticians such as Professor Leventhall for years. The chronic physiological stress effect, which is being observed with prolonged cumulative exposure, adds an additional burden of morbidity onto a group already adversely impacted by sleep disturbance.

The final insult is the psychological damage done to these already sick rural residents, when the responsible authorities (Health and Planning particularly) deny there is a problem, and refuse to investigate, or who just state that such rural residents are “collateral damage” and the wind development is “compliant” with unsafe and unenforced noise regulations, but refuse to conduct truly independent noise monitoring of the full acoustic spectrum inside and outside homes as recommended, let alone ensure that the residents also have access to the full set of raw data for independent analysis and peer review by acousticians who do not work for the wind developers (see http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wind- turbine-acoustic-pollution-assessment-requirements/).

Senator Xenophon’s comments after the Stony Gap decision are worth considering carefully, with respect to the potential individual liabilities for those who approve such developments and who choose to ignore the mounting evidence. His background as a personal injuries litigation lawyer prior to entering Parliament, together with his first hand knowledge of the extent and severity of the problems of the sick residents, make him eminently qualified to comment in this way. …

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This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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