Wind farms can cause significant health problems for nearby residents, a draft report by specialist consultants says.
The leaked report, once completed, could potentially open the door to litigation by affected residents.
The finding is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia, although The Weekly Times understands a court case in the UK will also hear allegations of serious health impacts from residents near wind farms.
But the Victorian Government said research shows health issues associated with wind farms were “negligible”.
A report by specialist consultants, Noise Measurement Services, on the Waubra wind farm, northwest of Ballarat, said there was “a clear and definable marker for adverse health effects … due to stress after the wind farm started operation.”
The consultancy staff includes research scientists, doctors and psycho-acoustics specialists.
The document – a draft report seen by The Weekly Times – was prepared at the request of some local residents opposed to wind farms.
The report also criticised wind company Acciona for ignoring the concerns of residents.
“What is clear … is a duty of care on Acciona Energy to identify and abate the objectionable noise,” the report said.
“There is … remarkable agreement between the parties – residents, clinicians and acousticians – as to observable health effects from unwanted sound.”
Symptoms included sleep disturbance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring and panic attacks.
The report also said the observable adverse health effects experienced by residents near the Waubra wind farm were “in conformance with recorded experiences of members of other communities affected by wind farms.”
Waubra farmer Noel Dean, who moved out of his house in May following chronic headaches and ear damage, said the Victorian Government was letting Acciona “hide behind a wall of money”.
Noise Measurement Services research scientist Bob Thorne would only say the draft report was “subject to change”.
A spokesman for the Victorian Government said “validated and peer-reviewed research consistently demonstrates that health issues associated with wind farms are negligible”.
Acciona group managing director Asia Pacific Brett Thomas raised questions about the report.
He said Acciona had no knowledge of the report’s purpose and had not been approached to provide material.
“Given the way in which the authors’ various opinions have been selectively released, it seems clear to us the material is not intended for use in any independent or expert context,” Mr Thomas said in a statement to The Weekly Times.
“Given this reality, it seems unreasonable to expect Acciona Energy to verify the existence of a longer document, let alone provide commentary.”
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