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Health concerns for residents living near proposed wind farm

A newly formed medical foundation is urging Tablelands Regional Council to think twice before it allows a 24sq km wind farm project near Walkamin and Tolga to go ahead.

Transfield Services, which already has a wind farm at Windy Hill near Ravenshoe, wants to build 74 turbines near Mt Emerald.

However, the Waubra Foundation, which was established in the middle of last year over health concerns for people living near wind farms, has written to the council asking it to hold off on any approval until further research is carried out.

Foundation director Sarah Laurie, who is based in South Australia, asked the council in her letter for a “temporary halt in further approvals and construction of turbine developments until the appropriate independent research is done”.

“There is absolutely no doubt that large wind turbines are damaging adjacent residents’ health,” Dr Laurie’s letter said.

She said she was aware of cases where people were left “effectively homeless”.

She said there was an urgent need for acoustic and medical research in order to place turbines a suitable distance from homes and businesses.

Such research could be completed within six to 12 months.

Failure to do so would inevitably result in significant numbers of rural residents being forced from their homes because of ill health caused by the turbines, as has happened in the Victorian towns of Toora, Cape Bridgewater and Waubra as well as Waterloo in South Australia, she said.

Dr Laurie said many affected residents at Toora and Waubra had signed contracts which included confidentiality clauses restricting them from speaking publicly, resulting in the issues being kept from the public and media.

However, she added that was starting to change, helped by the federal Senate inquiry into rural wind farms.