Dodgy ‘science’ exposed as anti-wind farm activists threaten jobs and investment in Central Victoria

Professor Simon Chapman
Professor Simon Chapman

As the VCAT hearing on the Cherry Tree Range wind farm enters its final stage this week, one of Australia’s leading public health experts has exposed shoddy submissions made by anti-wind farm activists.

Simon Chapman, Professor in Public Health at the University of Sydney, has critically reviewed the submissions made by known anti-wind farm activists Sarah Laurie (‘Waubra’ Foundation) and Patina Schneider (Industrial Wind Turbine Awareness Mudgee Alliance).

“These submissions are quite lamentable. If they were handed in as assignments by undergraduates, I’m afraid there would be many tears,” said Professor Chapman. “Neither Sarah Laurie nor Patina Schneider has any training or experience in research, and are open opponents of wind farms. These problems and biases are obvious throughout their submissions.”

Professor Chapman says the anti-wind farm campaigners continue to ignore reviews published by credible health organisations such as the Victorian Department of Health.

“There have now been 19 reviews of the available evidence about wind farms and health published internationally. These reviews have concluded there is no strong evidence that they make people ill,” Professor Chapman added.

The VCAT hearing is just the latest battleground for anti-wind farm campaigners. We told Shannon Twomey of The Weekly Times that the VCAT hearing is yet another example of outside anti-wind farm groups hijacking the planning system to fight an ideological battle. Sarah Laurie and Patina Schneider reside a distance of 930 and 655 kilometres from the site of the proposed wind farm in Trawool.

Though Mitchell Shire planners recommended approving the wind farm, Councillors refused to vote on the proposal. It is now opposed to the wind farm on planning grounds, yet explicitly stated to VCAT it is will not mount an argument relating to alleged health impacts of wind energy.

Local councillors failed to rule on the wind farm because they were spooked by an effective anti-wind farm scare campaign late last year. Now that the fear has died down, people are ready to consider the benefits of wind energy.

According to Friends of the Earth estimates the Cherry Tree Range wind farm would:

  • ecommerce-seo-checklistGenerate up to $80,000 for a community fund each year.
  • Contribute $76,000 worth of rates to the Mitchell Shire per annum.
  • Inject $1.2 million worth of flow on economic benefit to the local economy.
  • Produce enough electricity to power 26,000 homes and prevent 150,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere each year
  • Provide $250,000 worth of steady income for local wind farmers.

The Cherry Tree Range wind farm proposal demonstrates the anti-wind farm laws passed by former Premier Ted Baillieu in 2011 simply aren’t working.

Wind energy planning decisions are being made based on politics not sound science. Anti-wind farm activists have bogged down the planning system with spurious research and pseudoscience.

Political leadership is needed to restore fairness to the planning scheme and prevent the anti-wind farm lobby groups from putting jobs and drought-proof income at risk.

To date, Premier Napthine has shown no interest in restoring fair laws for wind farms and has left his predecessors policy failure intact.

Just last week, Labor party shadow planning minister Brian Tee promised to “rip up” the state’s anti-wind farm laws if taking office.

Friends of the Earth welcome Labor party’s commitment to restore sensible planning laws for wind farms and encourage all political parties to adopt policies that encourage more wind farms for the state. It’s what Victorians want.

9 thoughts on “Dodgy ‘science’ exposed as anti-wind farm activists threaten jobs and investment in Central Victoria

  1. In reference to Chapman’s response in the Laurie critiques check out response 13. What else do you get wrong Chapman

    Key Findings Cullerin Range survey 2013

    20 respondents have lodged an estimated 322 complaints, 3 respondents had complained to various departments but had not estimated how many complaints they had made. The bulk of the complaints were directed to the Wind Developer, the Department of Planning, the Local Council, their local MP and their health care provider, while other complaints were raised with The Health Department, the EPA, other politicians, friends and council committees.

  2. I have no doubt that objectors to clean energy have little or no scientific credibility and I support as much renewable as we can provide whether it be solar wind or whatever, the more the better. The Mitchell shire should be ashamed of itself for not having the conviction to vote on it.
    Bryan Wellard 5
    Goulburn St.

    1. Well done brain its a shame the rest of your kind aren’t as straight up about about it as you are .Renewables at all cost and bugger the people.We should all be ashamed of ourselves for not having a wind factory in every paddock.

  3. What about all the peer reviewed literature that STATES THERE ARE PROBLEMS with wind turbines sited too close to homes. The wind proponents refuse to acknowledge any of that. What degree do you need to work for the wind companies, certainly not a medical degree. They are like used car salesman, tell you what they want you to hear. I wonder how many of them live in close proximity to turbines, especially very large turbines.

  4. Pro9fessor Chapman is a sociologist unlike Professor Swinbank and other world renowned anti wind farm specialists. It seems we chose to ignore the that presented and peer-reviewed world wide. This includes audiologists which have shown the problems between sound and wind farm noise. Do these anti-wind opponents really believe there are problems without doing research? Dr.Laurie was not against wind farms until people started coming to her with complaints. It is noted that Prof.Chapman did not refer to Sarah Laurie as a doctor just as he is a sociologist. Patina is a concerned citizen about health issues and has studied the people for and against. Since not only Aussies but those overseas who have complained with no results as money is the motivator for the wind industry not health. When someone provides peer-reviewed evidence without bias of any sort will this prove one way or the other a proper result.

    1. Genie81 here’s my background & experience in public health research. You’ll see that I have researched and taught in Australia’s oldest medical faculty for many years and have won many awards for my contributions. Sarah Laurie by contrast has an undergraduate degree in medicine has been out of medical practice longer than she was ever in it, has no research training, and has never published a single paper on any subject in any peer reviewed journal. Yet some people seem to think she is some sort of international authority.

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