An RMIT academic says he is shocked by the lack of research examining the health and social effects of wind farms.
The university has announced it will conduct a three-year study, from its Hamilton campus, into the acoustic, health and community impacts of turbines.
Research fellow Dr Sean MacDermott says he became concerned about the lack of research after attending heated community meetings.
He says pro and anti-wind farm groups are basing their claims on scant evidence.
“In reality we’ve been astonished in looking … at how little research has been conducted,” he said.
“This has polarised communities and people are debating over a research question that really we should be able to set up a study and get an answer.”
Dr MacDermott says the project will be strictly independent.
“In seeking funding to do this we don’t wish to be funded by either side of the debate and we certainly don’t wish to [be] aligned with either side of the debate,” he said.
Dr Sarah Laurie from the anti-wind farm group, the Waubra Foundation, says research into the health effects of wind farms is essential.
However, she would not necessarily believe a study that showed turbines were risk-free.
“I don’t think one study showing there wasn’t a problem would satisfy me because we need to be looking at exactly what the causal links are,” she said.