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Dr Sarah Laurie responds to editorial  

The “truth about wind farming” in this state is that it is making some adjoining neighbours to wind developments in Victoria seriously unwell, forcing some families out of their homes and off their multigenerational farms. Others are literally trapped in homes becoming increasingly unwell, and are unable to sell, or move. Turbine hosts and their families have also been adversely affected, but their contracts restrict them from talking publicly. Some are now privately contacting us for advice and information.

These problems are not new – they were first described by Toora Rural GP and Local Medical Officer for the South Gippsland Board of Health, Dr David Iser in 2004. Dr Iser conducted a small study on his patient population, after some of his longstanding patients became seriously unwell after the start up of the Toora Wind Development. His results were identical to those of UK Rural GP, Dr Amanda Harry, in her study. He made his concerns known to the then Victorian Health authorities, and politicians including the then Premier, Mr Bracks, and called for more research.

He was ignored, as has every other Clinical Whistleblower globally about this issue since. There are Medical Practitioners and Acousticians from the UK, from Europe, from Canada, the USA and Australia who are trying to alert authorities to this growing public health problem in their respective countries, which is completely preventable with safer siting based on proper independent acoustic and medical research. This research has not yet been done. The Waubra Foundation was established in 2010, to advocate for such research.

Finally, a government Planning Minister has listened to these growing concerns of rural residents. On the basis of our Australian field observations where neighbours are reporting sleep and body vibrations in conjunction with turbine operation up to 10km from the nearest turbine, this setback is not far enough to protect adjoining residents, but it is a good start.

This is timely, as a court decision in Ontario has recently found that there are indeed adverse health problems with wind turbines, and there is a need for research. The relevant quote from the judgement and the reference are cited below.

When this research is done, it will help everybody, including particularly the wind industry, to proceed with safe siting of wind turbines in the knowledge that they will indeed be good neighbours, not to mention good corporate citizens. If there truly is “no health problem” as so many wind developers assert, despite some even publicly admitting otherwise, then the research will indeed show that.

In the meantime, the National Health and Medical Research Council have advocated adopting a “precautionary approach”, which is exactly what Minister Guy and his government are doing.

Dr Sarah Laurie, Medical Director, Waubra Foundation

“While the Appellants were not successful in their appeals, the Tribunal notes that their involvement and that of the Respondents, has served to advance the state of the debate about wind turbines and human health. This case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the Tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.” (p. 207) (Emphasis added)

[i] Environmental Review Tribunal, Case Nos.: 10-121/10-122 Erickson v. Director, Ministry of the Environment, Dated this 18th day of July, 2011 by Jerry V. DeMarco, Panel Chair and Paul Muldoon, Vice-Chair, http://www.ert.gov.on.ca/english/decisions/index.htm

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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