No link found between wind farm noise and ill health
A SENATE committee has been unable to establish a direct link between ill health and the noise generated by wind farms.
While the report acknowledged the possible negative impacts of wind farms, it did not find a causal link between the noise produced by a wind farm and the ill health of surrounding residents.
Greens senator and chair of the Community Affairs Reference Committee Rachel Siewert said evidence to the committee showed that ill health could be related to stress caused by wind farms in a nearby area or their construction but not by operational noise.
"There is simply not enough research to directly link any adverse health outcomes with the noise or vibrations caused by the wind farms," she said.
Senator Siewert said there was still a need for more research to put public health concerns to rest.
"If we are to move forward to a low-emissions economy... we need to get this right," she said.
The report also considered the issue of prescribed "set back limits" – the distance between a wind farm and residential housing – but the committee did not find that this was appropriate because of the changing nature of topography and landscapes.
Senator Siewert said she believed that draft guidelines for wind farms should be updated as further information and research from the NHMRC becomes available.
The report recommended the Commonwealth Government initiate “thorough, adequately resourced epidemiological and laboratory studies of the possible effects of wind farms on human health”.
“This research must engage across industry and community, and include an advisory process representing the range of interests and concerns,” the report said.