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Mocking essay undermines Simon Chapman’s credibility

Professor Simon Chapman (8 Oct 2012) has wheeled out his usual ill-considered invective against anyone who has the temerity to question the effectiveness of industrial wind turbines and the genuineness of anyone suffering adverse health effects (AHE) if they have the misfortune to live too close to them. He is a past master of ad hominen attacks which do little to further the cause of objective debate.

Professor Chapman claims that reports of AHEs are only a recent phenomenon. Reports are increasing for two very clear reasons: firstly, the actual number of wind turbines is increasing at an astonishing rate. Ergo more people are affected. Secondly, the steadily increasing size of wind turbines means that noise is increasing (both audible and low frequency infrasound). The wind industry denies this and insists that modern design has overcome this fundamental problem, but evidence does not support this contention.

It certainly does no credit to the office of a Professor of Public Health to mock people who report AHEs and to flippantly list reported symptoms or specific illnesses with derogatory amusement. In truth many symptoms can be regarded as sequelae of sleep deprivation, the physiological effects of which have been well studied and well published over many years. The World Health Organisation also discusses in some detail the effects of noise annoyance and the limitations that people should expect while they go about the business of their daily lives. Professor Chapman would do well to speak to and interview some of the people who report AHEs either in Australia, or indeed internationally.

Because it is also incorrect to state that reports of adverse health effects from wind turbines are Anglophone in origin. Internationally there are many reported AHEs from wind turbines. To verify, just check organisations such as Ontario Wind Resistance, an umbrella group representing over 60 groups (and growing) in that Canadian province. Or the North American Platform against Wind Power which represents groups in the USA, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Or the European Platform against Wind Power which has 540 signatory organisations from 23 European countries (including Germany and Denmark). There are many desperate groups out there fighting for their democratic right to decide for themselves whether they want wind turbines in their communities.

Sadly lacking is good, objective, refereed research to investigate this matter properly. It would do much for Professor Chapman’s credibility (in his role as public health aficionado) if he were to exert his energies to advocate this instead of shooting the very unempowered messengers.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Colleen J. Watts OAM

B.Sc.Agr., M.Phil., Ph.D.


Carcoar NSW 2791


+61 2 63673222