Nurses for Safe Renewable Power

Looking for a healthy environment for everyone

Noise study in Australia: projects in compliance are harming people

Listen to the Wind Wise radio interview with engineer and acoustician Steven Cooper here:

State planning legislation in Australia currently suggests that 1-2 km is the separation distance between wind power generation projects and homes; in Ontario it is 550 meters —neither is based on any scientific studies.

Cooper finds that there is both audible and inaudible noise that “extends well past the nominal separation distances of 1-2 km.”

People cannot live in their homes, Cooper notes; in some cases it took as long as six months for the full health effects to show up. He concludes that recommended separation distances are not adequate.

He also says that when compliance testing is done, the wind power developers have either shut the turbine down, or changed the pitch of the blades to reduce the noise. There are questions about the ethics of people doing the measurements.

“If wind farms shut down, they don’t get their money,” Cooper explains.

At some point, the truth of all this is going to become obvious to society at large, and then companies and government–and the professional associations such as the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario– who have chosen to ignore, or not even entertain the idea of listening to this evidence, will have to answer for what they have done.

“Ultimately, these things will be exposed either in the courts or if we can have legitimate inquiries where…people have to provide the correct answers, the community will be able to get to the bottom of it,” says Cooper.

“If you have a situation where it can be proved that people have an adverse health impact…it falls back to the regulatory authority. In Australia, you cannot find the basis for the [setbacks]. … People need to be put in the witness box and told to explain.”


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