Joint Media Release
The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP
Minister for Industry and Science
The Hon Sussan Ley MP
Minister for Health
Minister for Sport
11 February 2015
The Australian Government is committed to continuing to work with local communities and industry to resolve concerns about possible health impacts from wind farms.
The Government welcomes the report from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) looking into the evidence of impacts from exposure to wind farm noise.
The NHMRC Information Paper: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health found no consistent evidence that exposure to wind farm noise affects human physical or mental health but concluded further high quality research is warranted. It also found that there is some evidence that wind farm noise is associated with annoyance and parallel evidence suggests that prolonged annoyance due to noise may result in stress, which can have adverse effects on human health.
The report found that only 13 of 4,000 studies internationally have looked at the possible relationships between wind farm emissions and health outcomes. Only one of these 13 studies was conducted in Australia, showing a clear lack of research based around Australia’s unique environmental conditions.
The NHMRC also found this small number of studies to be of poor quality, including a failure by any studies to undertake monitoring of impacts on health within affected residents’ homes.
The Government supports the NHMRC’s decision to commission further high-quality research to fill current information gaps.
It’s essential for everyone involved – including both residents and the renewable energy sector – that credible evidence is gathered to ensure a considered position based on hard facts, not emotion and vested-interests can be established.
The Australian Government recognises that some members of the community are concerned about the development of wind farms.
Just as we promised prior to the election, we are listening to Australians worried about potential health effects caused by wind farms and we are working to resolve these concerns, including by independent analysis.
The Government will examine the report and will be reviewing the results of the targeted research to consider how noise from wind farms may affect human health, so that any approach to measuring noise can be targeted appropriately.
Kylie Barron (Macfarlane) – 0408 508 673
Troy Bilsborough (Ley) – 0427 063 150