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Call to re-open inquiry on health effects  

Credit:  By Emma-Jayne Schenk, Hamilton Spectator, www.spec.com.au 8 November 2011 ~~

More people have spoken up about the distressing health issues allegedly caused by wind turbines.
Senator John Madigan of the Democratic Labor Party claims wind farms are destroying the lives and health of countless Australians, including those in the south-west region.
“The Government is knowingly doing harm to its citizens by ignoring recent findings,” he said in a press release which called for the re-opening of a state inquiry into the impact of wind farms.
However his claims were questioned by a Clean Energy Council spokeswoman who queried whether Senator Madigan was being provided with the facts or being used by groups with vested interests.
Senator Madigan asked why the National Health and Medical Research Council had decided to wait to correct its statement that: ‘There is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects’.
“The council’s lack of urgency on matters of public health is nothing short of abuse,” he said.
Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians president, Keith Staff agreed with his comments.
Mr Staff said serious health and safety issues for local residents were becoming increasingly significant as the amount and size of turbines amplified.
“The issue has become more open and honest since the new government was elected but facts suggest that as the turbines become bigger, the health problems become much worse,” he said.
He said the proposal for a large wind energy facility on the south-western edge of Penshurst would dominate the township and cause a lot of people to relocate.
“I, like seven other residents currently living in Penshurst, would definitely not have moved here if I knew there was a wind farm potentially going to be built so close to the town,” he said.
The proposal remains in the early stages of development but if it goes ahead, 223 turbines at a height of 175 metres will be built three kilometres from the township.
“People don’t seem to have a handle of the enormity of the situation,” Mr Staff said.
“I challenge them to appreciate the totality of this proposal before it’s too late.
“We will have turbines as tall as pylons at the MCG just a stone’s throw away from town.
“There are concerns about health problems, which have been factually proven to be caused by wind farms. People living close (to them) often suffer migraines, ear problems, sleep disturbance and other problems they did not have prior to living near the turbines.
“They are also a disaster waiting to happen regarding fires – you just couldn’t stop it if one of the turbines caught fire and collapsed, which does happen.”
Clean Energy Council wind community engagement manager, Lisa Taylor said there was enough credible research to blow away every myth about wind power, but that wasn’t the issue.
“It’s a question of whether the general public and people like Senator Madigan are being provided with the real facts, or being taken advantage of by groups who have vested interests in opposing wind farm developments,” she said.
“It is important to acknowledge that some people who live near wind turbines are genuinely sick, and no-one is disputing that.
“There is however a difference between being sick while living near something and having your illness actually caused by it.
“The symptoms of this alleged ‘wind turbine syndrome’ condition are those of stress, which can occur for an almost endless number of reasons.
“If there was a wind turbine down the road, I might be tempted to blame my stress symptoms on the local wind farm, particularly if someone told me they were bad for my health.
“A scare campaign itself will stress many people, as they are understandably worried about the health of themselves and their families.”
Mr Staff said if a wind farm was to be set up with 50 to 60 turbines and 10 kilometres away from any small town, it could be acceptable.
However, he said, this often wasn’t the case.
“The problem is, these companies do not consult with the community beforehand.
“They act like the proposals are a done deal even when they are still in the early stages of getting approval,” Mr Staff said.
He said he believed it was a 50/50 chance that the Penshurst wind farm would go ahead.
“Two years ago, it would have been a given that the wind farm went ahead.
“But it is by no means certain now due to facts that have come to light recently.”
Senator Madigan said that when the Senate next sat, he would demand that the State Inquiry into the Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms be re-opened.
“Serious health concerns were raised by health professionals in submissions to the inquiry,” he said.
“It appears the overwhelming majority of submissions to the inquiry were simply ignored.
“The inquiry received more than 1000 submissions and made only seven recommendations – none of which have seen the light of day.”

Source:  By Emma-Jayne Schenk, Hamilton Spectator, www.spec.com.au 8 November 2011

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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