A new report has found what many already knew: no reliable link between wind farms and health effects.
The Clean Energy Council welcomed the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) report yesterday, saying it was ‘an important step in reassuring communities living near wind farms that their health is not at risk’.
The draft statement and information paper from the NHMRC, Australia’s peak body for health and medical research and evidence-based health guidelines, followed on from a 2010 statement that also gave wind farms a clean bill of health, provided appropriate planning rules were in place.
Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said it was yet another tick of approval for the wind industry from the country’s best health experts.
‘The NHMRC draft position statement is in line with advice from the NSW and Victorian health departments, which have both stated that noise below the hearing threshold cannot affect people’s health,’ Mr Marsh said.
‘The draft position from the NHMRC, that there was no reliable or consistent evidence that noise from wind turbines is associated with human health effects, should give peace of mind to those living near operating or proposed wind farms that their health will not be adversely affected.
‘It is the role of health experts like the NHMRC to consider the scientific evidence on these issues and make recommendations, rather than the wind industry, or its opponents.
‘That’s why we welcome the public consultation process and look forward to continuing to work with agencies like the NHMRC to inform our best practice guidelines for wind farm development and community engagement, and ensure the industry can continue to operate in a responsible way.’
The independent review from the NHMRC considered the existing scientific literature, and examined the possible impacts of wind farms on human health, including audible and inaudible noise.
‘While there is mounting evidence that wind farms cannot directly cause health problems, the industry recognises the need to make communication and community engagement a high priority when building a wind farm,’ Mr Marsh said.