Australia medical body clears wind

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has found no evidence that noise from wind farms directly causes health problems – a verdict hailed by the country’s Clean Energy Council (CEC).

A position statement by the AMA – Australia’s leading medical research body – refers to “health scares and misinformation” regarding wind farm developments.

It also says there is a lack of evidence – Australian or international – that the infrasound, or low-frequency noise, generated by wind farms causes adverse health effects in populations in their vicinity.

The AMA statement comes as a boost to the wind industry in Australia, where a vociferous anti-wind lobby has cited ill-effects including headaches, insomnia, and dizziness.

CEC policy director Russell Marsh said the AMA statement follows similar ones by other organisations in the country, adding that “no credible Australian health or acoustic organisations are opposing wind farms, and people should feel reassured by that”.

“Other groups that have made positive statements on wind farm noise and health recently include the New South Wales and Victorian health departments, the South Australian Environmental Protection Agency and the Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants,” says Marsh.

“The National Health and Medical Research Council, the national peak body for health research, also released a draft position statement several weeks ago that stated there was ‘no reliable or consistent evidence that proximity to wind farms or wind farm noise is directly associated with health effects’.

“Unfortunately we have seen a misinformation campaign on this issue waged by opponents, and communities have sadly been caught in the crossfire,” Marsh adds.

The CEC is urging wind developers to continue to work closely with residents near their projects, pointing to the body’s community engagement guidelines for wind farms which are designed to “promote a consistently high standard across the industry”.