Australian Senator urges caution on wind turbine noise
Sydney Morning Herald, May 24, 2015
It seems the only thing colourful crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm hates more than red tape is wind farming.
Despite typically being a fierce opponent of new government regulation, the Liberal Democrat is calling on the government to set up a new regulator to monitor noise levels near wind turbines.
He claims a Senate inquiry he set up has uncovered “credible evidence” that some people are suffering health concerns caused by low frequency noise and vibrations known as infrasound.
Australia’s peak medical agency this year concluded there is no direct or consistent evidence that wind farms damage human health, after conducting a year-long study into so-called “wind turbine syndrome”.
Indeed, many health experts and environmentalists have long dismissed turbine-related health concerns as a myth.
But Senator Leyonhjelm has seized on reports that the German Medical Assembly wants a halt on further wind farm developments near housing pending more research into the possible health impacts.
“I am usually the last person to support the creation of additional government bureaucracy but when we are directing around $22 billion towards the Renewable Energy Target (RET), the creation of a regulator would be a drop in the bucket,” Senator Leyonhjelm says.
“Those who justify action on climate change because of the precautionary principle will understand the need to apply the same principle to infrasound.”
The crossbencher says the need for a new regulator is particularly pressing given the Clean Energy Regulator says another 1000 wind turbines will need to be erected in the next five years to meet the RET.
Senator Leyonhjelm’s inquiry attracted 418 submissions and is set to report back to parliament in August. It is the latest in a long line of investigations into renewable energy and wind turbines.