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Report airs ill feelings over wind farms  

Credit:  BY STEPHANIE ANDERSON, The Canberra Times, www.canberratimes.com.au 24 June 2011 ~~

Andre de Bruin never had blood pressure problems before the installation of wind turbines near his home.

The 50-year-old father of three said the construction of the Cullerin Range Wind Farm several kilometres from his Collector house had coincided with a sudden dip in his health.

”I started waking up in the middle of the night,” he said.

”I’ve never had blood pressure problems then all of a sudden I had high blood pressure.”

Experiences like Mr de Bruin’s are set to be investigated following a report tabled in the Senate yesterday, which calls for further research into the effect of wind farms on human health.

The report, tabled by the senate community affairs references committee, outlined evidence from more than 1000 submissions regarding the social and economic impacts of rural wind farms, but failed to draw a direct link between ill health and wind turbines.

Committee chairwoman Senator Rachel Siewert said more research was needed before conclusions could be drawn.

”People had clearly outlined symptoms of headaches, of stress, of increased blood pressure,” she said.

”What wasn’t articulated or proven was the direct link between those symptoms and noise, for example.”

Senator Siewert said that while there was no recommendation to suspend further wind farm construction, future research was outlined as a matter of priority.

The recommendation has been met with mixed responses from those involved with the 1017 submissions, including Sarah Laurie.

Dr Laurie is the medical director of the Waubra Foundation, a national organisation researching the health problems of residents living near wind turbines. She said there were potential problems with the lack of a moratorium on further construction.

”I can see a situation developing where it’s business as usual for the developers,” she said.

But Dr Laurie said the push for further research into the potential effects of wind farms was a step in the right direction.

”I think we need to get cracking and do the research,” she said.

”The time for blame is over, it’s time to get on with the work.”

The report also investigated concerns surrounding prescribed set-back limits, or the distance between residential homes and wind turbines.

While the committee did not find prescribed distances appropriate, it did recommend further consideration be given to developing a policy on separation criteria.

Senator Siewert said she believed draft guidelines for wind farms should be updated as further information and research from the Medical Research Council became available.

Source:  BY STEPHANIE ANDERSON, The Canberra Times, www.canberratimes.com.au 24 June 2011

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

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