Acciona Energy’s fight in court against an Allendale East farmer objecting to the development of a wind farm near his property has been postponed to mid-January next year.
Dairy farmer Richard Paltridge based his appeal against the development on the possible adverse health affects wind turbines could cause to people living close to wind farms.
The Environment Resource and Development Court in Adelaide has adjourned the appeal hearing to allow Acciona and Grant District Council to introduce medical evidence with a doctor’s statement into the proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Clean Energy Council has released a report claiming no evidence exists that residents would suffer any direct health effects from living near wind farms.
The Clean Energy Council’s chief executive Matthew Warren said results from the Wind Farms Technical Paper on Environmental Noise provided reassurance to rural communities that they could directly benefit from the investment of wind energy.
The report claims that “all noise from any source including wind farms, which is audible, will result in complaints from some people. Recent research indicates the potential for complaints, annoyance and its associated stress and health impacts may be exacerbated by rhetoric, fears and negative publicity.”
However, the report was condemned by former rural GP and medical director of the Waubra Foundation, Dr Sarah Laurie.
Dr Laurie, who backed Mr Paltridge in his appeal against Acciona, said the report lacked integrity for “not admitting that some rural Australians are indeed becoming very ill when they live or work adjacent to wind turbines”.
“The major issue for families living in the vicinity of wind turbines is noise for extended periods of time leading to chronic sleep deprivation, which itself is associated with all sorts of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, suppressed immunity, difficulties concentrating and depression,” Dr Laurie said.
“I have now interviewed over 40 people in rural Australia who have been affected by wind turbines, with the same symptoms.
“The Waubra Foundation believes there is an urgent need for independent academic acoustic and medical research into this important area before more turbines are constructed close to people’s homes and workplaces.”
She called on the government and wind industry to commit to funding the studies.
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