Sarah Laurie is not an Expert on “Wind Turbine Syndrome”
Well known anti-wind campaigner and former doctor Sarah Laurie has decided not to appear as an Expert Witness at the Cherry Tree wind farm VCAT hearing that starts in Melbourne this morning.
While she has told the media that wind turbines can cause detrimental health impacts over 10 kilometres away, Ms Laurie seems unwilling to have her claims tested by an objective investigation. Sarah Laurie, CEO of the Waubra Foundation, lodged a 15 page submission objecting to the Cherry Tree wind farm, but has declined to appear before the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) as an Expert Witness.
“It is odd that someone who spends the first two pages of most of her submissions outlining her qualifications would decline to give evidence as an Expert Witness, especially when she has been campaigning against wind farms full time for several years” commented Leigh Ewbank, from Friends of the Earth. “Perhaps it’s because the last time she appeared as an expert witness in a wind farm planning court case her evidence was found to suffer from numerous ‘defects’ and her health impact claims dismissed.” (the pertinent excerpt from this Court Decision is here).
It is very significant, although not surprising, that the opponents of the Cherry Tree wind farm are not calling one Expert Witness to give evidence of the alleged detrimental health impacts of wind farms.
“We have been stating from the beginning that the Waubra Foundation has been running a wind energy scare campaign without any basis to their claims. Their inability to find one person willing to risk their reputation to appear as an Expert Witness speaks volumes as to the credibility of their theories.”
While Sarah Laurie will appear as a ‘lay witness’ at the hearing, VCAT considers the evidence of expert witnesses to be much more credible, because expert witnesses have recognised qualifications, must be objective in their testimony, and can be extensively cross examined.
“The Victorian Department of Health, NSW Department of Health and the National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are all on the record stating there is no evidence of wind turbines causing detrimental health impacts. While the NHMRC is updating their previous study, with a draft report due in March, we are confident their comprehensive study will confirm the findings of their previous work” concluded Mr Ewbank.
Perhaps due to scrutiny from Yes 2 Renewables, Sarah Laurie made herself available for cross examination from the proponents legal representation. Keep an eye on the Y2R blog, as we plan on posting excepts from the VCAT hearing once transcripts are available.