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Inquiry boss makes noise over wind farm infrasound

The chairman of a South Australian parliamentary inquiry into wind farms wants guidelines in place for the low-frequency sound emitted by wind farms.

Opposition planning spokesman David Ridgway says the National Health and Medical Research Council is investigating the effects of infrasound on people.

He says standard Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines are in place to ensure sound levels from developments are not too loud.

However, he says it is the frequency, not the volume of sound from wind farms, that needs assessing.

“I’ve often described that infrasound as being a little like car sickness – there’s four people in a car, one feels sick and the other three feel fine,” he said.

“So I suspect infrasound is something a little like that, which will be difficult to get guidelines but the EPA are looking forward to that research.”

Mr Ridgway is also calling for the minimum distance between wind farms and houses to be extended.

Under interim government planning rules, turbines have to be at least one kilometre from isolated dwellings.

Mr Ridgway says that distance is much shorter than in other states.

He says new projects are being assessed on the interim rules while research and reviews on issues like buffer zones are still taking place.

“In the interim development plan amendment, in respect of whatever it’s amending, those rules apply while it’s in interim operation,” he said.

“So even if the rules are changed and the distances are extended, we would’ve had a 12-month period where we’ve had very different rules previously, we may have a 12-month period where we have very different rules going forward.”