March 6, 2011
Australia, Press releases

Medical Director of Waubra Foundation advises Senate Inquiry of gag clauses, which hide health problems associated with wind turbines

Dr Sarah Laurie, Waubra Foundation,

Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation, Dr Sarah Laurie, has highlighted the industry practice of wind farm operators enforcing confidentiality clauses, which specifically prevent affected residents from publicly speaking about their health problems, in her submission to the current Senate Inquiry into rural wind farms.

Wind farm operators insert confidentiality clauses into contracts with landholders accepting turbines, and with vendors of adjacent properties purchased by the operators because they have been rendered uninhabitable.

“I have direct knowledge of this practice of gag clauses at multiple sites in Australia, and Canada, and I am told by my colleagues the practice is widespread in North America” said Dr Laurie. “I am also aware of clauses in some contracts in Australia which specifically prohibit the person who signs such a contract from making any claim, objection or complaint to any government agency”.

“The combined effect of gag clauses and the prohibition on complaining has created a situation where relevant health and noise regulatory authorities are not getting an accurate picture of the suffering of rural residents , including vulnerable members of families hosting turbines. The suffering continues without any effective public scrutiny” she said.

The Waubra Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation committed to facilitating the independent study of health effects of wind turbines. “I have now interviewed over 60 people in rural Australia whose health has been directly affected by wind turbines, with a range of problems including chronic severe sleep deprivation, elevated blood pressure, tinnitus, ear pressure and balance problems, and severe anxiety and depression. These are serious medical problems; there is no doubt living or working near turbines is dangerous for some people’s health”.

“Some have left their family home to try to regain their health, others are unable to leave, as their main asset is their house and land, which often become unsaleable” said Dr Laurie. “Rural families who cannot leave their homes are trapped, and their plight is being denied or ignored” concluded Dr Laurie. “The Waubra Foundation believes there is an urgent need for independent acoustic and medical research before more turbines are constructed close to people’s homes and workplaces. Others in Australia joining the global call for independent research include the SA AMA and the CFMEU”.

Contact: Dr Sarah Laurie: 0439 865 914

Dr Sarah Laurie,

Waubra Foundation,

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