Wind farm report reassures residents

WHILE residents of Forest Reefs eagerly await news of the approval of the $195 million Flyers Creek wind farm by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC), a new report by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) claims there are no health risks associated with the turbines.

The draft paper Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health, released by the NHMRC, Australia’s peak body for health and medical research, says there is no reliable link between wind farms and people’s health.

A proposal by Infigin Energy to place 45 turbines on land 20 kilometres south of Orange has divided the community and has been a contentious issue since 2008. 

Recently there was such a huge response to a public forum hosted by the PAC it had to be held over two days.

The Central Western Daily spoke with several landholders in the area yesterday, however, they declined to comment on the report.

The debate among landholders is expected to continue, with reports some of the landholders who signed contacts with Infigen several years ago want to pull out of contracts that may have expired.

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said this latest report was another tick of approval for the wind industry from the country’s best health experts.

“The NHMRC draft position statement is in line with advice from the NSW and Victorian health departments, which have both stated that noise below the hearing threshold cannot affect people’s health,” he said.

“This should give peace of mind to those living near operating or proposed wind farms that their health will not be adversely affected.”

Mr Marsh said while there was mounting evidence that wind farms could not directly cause health problems, the industry recognised the need to make communication and community engagement a high priority when building a wind farm.

The NHMRC draft paper has been released for public consultation until Friday, April 11.

Submissions can be made through the NHMRC website.

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