Friends of the Earth media release, May 31 2012
Residents at Penshurst in South-West Victoria will today have the chance to examine the arguments put forward against wind farm developments by the prominent anti-windfarm campaigner, Sarah Laurie.
Laurie bases her arguments on the notion that low-frequency noise and inaudible infrasound is causing a wide range of serious health problems, an idea that runs counter to current scientific understandings of how sound interacts with the human body.
While Laurie will no doubt name many studies that she says support her position, anyone who has heard her arguments would be well advised to check her references for themselves.
Nearly 20 international high-level reviews of available evidence from scientific studies have been published on wind farms’ health effects. Not one has found evidence of health problems caused by wind farms.
Scientifically discredited studies exist that claim health effects do exist. That they continue to be referenced is further evidence that Ms Laurie is really clutching at straws.
“There is a concerted campaign against wind energy in this country,” said Friends of the Earth spokesperson Cam Walker. “It’s robbing rural communities of the chance to get more income for farmers, more local employment, and increased rates to councils.
“It’s robbing all of us of wind energy’s effects in reducing pollution and electricity costs.
“South Australia got 31% of its electricity from the wind in the last twelve months. Their energy prices are down as a result, and their carbon emissions are plummeting. Victoria is only a tenth of that.
“There will always be some people worried by or opposed to new developments. Unfortunately, the fear campaign being whipped up by groups like the Waubra Foundation is entrenching this opposition, creating anxiety that may well be the real cause of some of the symptoms she describes.
“Our current state government has capitulated to this fear campaign by introducing a 2km setback from wind farms to residences. The previous laws regulated noise, which is measurable and scientific.
“The 2km setback is only legitimising the fear campaign. The fact that it is not applied to coal mines or gas operations shows it is more about politics than ‘fairness’ in planning policy.
“We hope that communities such as those at Penshurst, who may be presented with the opportunity of hosting wind farms, will seek more rational and balanced views on the risks and opportunities of this industry.”
For further comment, please contact Cam Walker, campaigns co-ordinator at Friends of the Earth Melbourne, on 9419 8700 (extension 20).