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Turbine opponents release own health impact study  

Credit:  By SEAN McCOMISH | The Standard | Sept. 10, 2013 ] www.standard.net.au ~~

Wind farm opponents in Macarthur are again making a case to be heard over claimed health impacts, releasing a lengthy community survey.

The preliminary report commissioned by the Australian Industrial Wind Turbine Awareness Network, an anti-wind farm group, has compiled complaints and apparent symptoms caused by turbines.

It will be sent to various health departments in a bid to get an authoritative study done.

Both levels of government are refusing to accept claims that turbines cause health issues and anti-wind campaigners and residents are relying on a handful of acousticians and GPs to back their claims of headaches and nausea.

About 84 people filled out questionnaires, with 63 claiming their health had been affected, according to the report.

All 63 said their sleep had suffered since the wind farm began operating.

“Of real concern is that children are included as part of respondents’ households and are being impacted,” the report states.

However, the survey lacks independence and is authored by a resident opposed to the construction of a wind farm near her own home in Berrybank.

Report author Anne Schafer acknowledges midway through the report that her “interest in wind energy began soon after she and her husband purchased their property and found that a wind facility was proposed next to it”.

“I understand that but it’s what has started my interest,” she told The Standard.

“We are concerned that we won’t be able to live here.”

Ms Schafer said The Australian Industrial Wind Turbine Awareness Network had contacted her to undertake the survey.

The survey refers to complaints about subaudible noise called infrasound but also lists comments likening the wind farm to “a jet engine overhead … an unrelenting drone … a truck that never arrives”.

But AGL has maintained that noise levels, in particular infrasound blamed for health effects, has not changed since construction of the Macarthur wind farm.

“Although we take all allegations of health problems seriously and investigate any complaints, there is currently no credible peer-reviewed scientific evidence to link wind turbines to adverse health effects,” an AGL spokesperson said.

In July the company released a voluntarily-commissioned report by independent acousticians that was then peer reviewed.

“This research demonstrates that there was no measurable change in the infrasound levels measured before and after construction of the Macarthur wind farm,” AGL’s power development general manager Scott Thomas said.

“AGL has undertaken the most extensive and rigorous research by a wind farm operator in Australia and also has gone above and beyond its regulatory requirements.”

Researchers at RMIT University in Hamilton had hoped to conduct a scientific study into health claims in 2012 but were unable to secure funding.

Meanwhile, the opponents are likely to find a sympathetic ear in the new Coalition government.

Wannon MP Dan Tehan has voiced calls for an independent study into health impacts.

Two more wind farms are proposed at Penshurst and Willatook.

Source:  By SEAN McCOMISH | The Standard | Sept. 10, 2013 ] www.standard.net.au

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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