The NSW government has been called on to withdraw its planning guidelines for wind farms after a report this week by respected Australian health researchers found no evidence that wind turbines impacted on health.
NSW Greens MP John Kaye says the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) preliminary findings that there is a lack of ‘reliable or consistent evidence’ that turbines cause health effects should be taken on board immediately by the government.
Public consultation on the government’s draft guidelines on wind farms finished in March 2012 but the final document is yet to be released.
The NHMRC’s study ‘Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health’ (http://j.mp/NHMRCwind) found ‘no reliable or consistent evidence that proximity to wind farms or wind farm noise directly causes health’.
The NSW government’s ‘Draft NSW Planning Guidelines: Wind Farms’ (http://j.mp/DoPIwind) requires wind farm applicants to ‘consider health issues’, and in some cases applications would be required to be referred to the health department.
Dr Kaye said ‘the O’Farrell government has been caught flirting with the wind witch-doctors’.
‘By perpetuating the unfounded claims of the opponents of wind energy technology, the premier and his planning minister have damaged the state’s economy and undermined its renewable energy industry,’ he said.
‘The NHMRC’s findings should not have come as a surprise to anyone.
‘In 2010, the health watchdog warned that attempts to claim that wind turbines were linked to ill health were not founded on scientific evidence.
‘In December 2011 the O’Farrell government called for public comment on a set of draft guidelines that were in large measure based on allegations of health impacts that had already been debunked by the NHMRC.
‘The planning document included the world’s toughest noise standards, an onerous public consultation regime, and a requirement to address health issues that are not real.
‘The latest findings from the NHMRC go even further in rejecting some of the dodgy health claims that have gulled planning pinister Brad Hazzard and his premier.
‘The O’Farrell government should withdraw these draft guidelines before they damage the state’s clean energy future even further.
‘Instead, they should work with the wind industry to develop guidelines that respect local communities and allow the most cost-effective renewable energy technology to prosper in this state.
‘The opportunity to create more than 4,000 jobs and attract $8 billion of investment is being squandered by the O’Farrell government’s hostility to wind farms.
‘A new direction could see the state’s annual greenhouse gas emissions cut by up to 17 million tonnes of CO2.
‘The NHMRC report should be one more sign to the premier that it’s time to end his war on renewable energy,’ Dr Kaye said.