An expert on the health impacts of wind farms says it is inappropriate for Queensland Health to advise a council in the state’s far north to take a “precautionary approach” to a proposed development.
The department has advised the Tablelands Regional Council to carefully consider the application for the Mount Emerald Wind Farm, due to health concerns linked to noise.
The letter from Queensland Health cited a “growing body of evidence of adverse health impacts associated with noise generated by wind farms”.
However, Professor Gary Wittert from the University of Adelaide says community complaints do not constitute evidence.
“If you go into a random community and ask people if they’re having sleep disturbance, then a significant number of people are going to have sleep disturbance,” he said.
“I don’t think that asking people whether they’ve got symptoms, which are extremely common without any sort of control or appropriate adjustment for the range of confounds that otherwise occurs, can in any way be interpreted as evidence.”
Professor Wittert says there is no evidence that wind farms impact on the health of residents living near them.
“I quite frankly would be very surprised if an objective evaluation of the evidence did find such a thing,” he said.
“This is an area that I’ve been working in for quite some time.
“I think that wind farms are operating all over the world and have been in Europe for more than a decade with absolutely no evidence of adverse health effects.”