Senator Nick Xenophon has warned councils could face legal action over south-west wind farm developments.
With plans to speak at a Portland wind farm forum next Tuesday, Senator Xenophon yesterday said he had received legal advice following a study from the National Health and Medical Research Council revealing health concerns caused by wind farm infrasound.
“This peak medical body has flagged the need to take a more precautionary approach toward wind farms,” Senator Xenophon said.
“There are issues about sleeping disturbance because it’s known infrasound has effects on brain activity – the science is clear on that and should be taken into account.
“I think there are legitimate concerns about the impact of wind farms on individuals and community property values.
“There’s potential legal liability on behalf of local government if they approve a wind farm development and there is subsequent legal action against that by individuals whose sleep is disturbed and property values damaged as well.
“Local government needs to be very well aware of the potential pitfall and proceed cautiously.
“Because the council approval process is flawed, it doesn’t include reference to the potential impact of low frequency sound.
“The current system is stacked against individuals and communities, and doesn’t make economic sense.”
Senator Xenophon said that at next week’s forum he would discuss the need for more effective greenhouse gas reduction investments, highlighting baseload renewables which could provide “power for 16 hours a day in parts of Victoria”.
“I need to make it clear I’m not against renewable energy but I think we put too many eggs in the wind farm basket.”
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