Dear Editors of the Sydney Morning Herald

SMHDear Editors of the Sydney Morning Herald,

I read with interest the two recent articles (March 15, and 16) by Lenore Taylor, “Wind Turbine Sickness,” and “When Lobbyists Blow in.” I note the extensive quotation of the smiling Prof. Simon Chapman, noting that “wind turbine sickness” was a “communicated disease,” and that many of Australia’s wind power developments had not been subject to health complaints.

I note that the majority of survey respondents to the question posed by the first article feel that there is no need for another parliamentary inquiry into the health effects of wind turbine noise.

The reason all of this is of interest to me personally is that in little over one month, I will be presenting a paper at the 21st international congress on acoustics (google ICA 2013 for the speaker’s list) on the subject, “Wind Turbine Sound Prediction – the consequence of getting it wrong.”

This is in follow up to a paper presented at the Acoustical Society of America 161st conference in 2011, titled, “Collecting Data on Wind Turbine Sound to Identify Causes of Identified Concerns.” The first paper will be available after the conference, and the second is available now from the Proceedings on Meetings on Acoustics. (Again a google search will quickly bring up the reviewed paper.)

I’m left wondering how many of the respondents to your survey said, “No, do not study wind turbine noise,” because it did not impact them … I wonder how many individuals suffering has Prof. Chapman spoken to in depth, to come to his conclusions? I suspect it might be like in the province of Ontario, Canada, where the chief medical officer – without speaking to any of the hundreds identifying health concerns, concluded, that she saw no concern, except perhaps “annoyance” or “sleep disturbance.” I wonder why it is different when the local medical officer in a county that hosts several hundred wind turbines, who has met those who suffer, face to face, concluded after studying the impact of wind turbines on people who are complaining, that “these people are not NIMBY’s, these are people affected by these things.”

So why does this matter? Because many people are affected … if the turbines are too close … which may be why some of Australia’s wind power developments are not a problem in your large country … but where they are too close, then people suffer. All segments of society, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddist, or nearly every other culture, agree on a common principle that we should not harm others, just because it benefits us. Luke 10:37 puts it this way, who was the good neighbour? Why, the one who helped the one who was suffering. Then, “Go and do likewise.” Please, SMH, “Go and do likewise,” look for ways to help those who are suffering – they are your neighbours, even if they do not live next door.

Bill Palmer

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. My thanks to you too Bill. Your call to the Editorial at the SMH to think about exploring and publishing information that will assist question and understanding of the issues surrounding emissions from industrial wind turbines is to suggest of a visionary concept.
    As part of a community group fighting traumatic noise from other sources in Australia for years, the success of those raising question about what is not heard about wind turbines, gives me, and others, encouragement. That the disregard of precaution for harmful noise advocated and promoted by WHO is starting to register with many more people.
    The operational level of our planning and regulatory systems in Australia has absolutely no regard for the dangers associated with intruding noise and vibration, or other pollutants either for that matter. No connection with the public health issues noise is associated with. No regard for the stress it generates, or violence or injustice. The consideration and evaluation phases of such process fail to connect to appropriate specialties, audiology, ENT, neurophysiology, cardiology or ethics. Don’t see any of the cost of ignoring noise. Ignore the 2005-6 Access Economics study that documented that almost half the cause of the annual $23billion cost of hearing loss, is poorly placed and managed noise sources. What a difference this would make to every State and National budget deficit.
    Why is there no ethical input into planning decisions? Why is there no process audit of Development Panel function to evaluate the contribution of poor planning decisions in local areas? Why don’t our leaders want to know of more successful ways of reducing conflict in our planned living environments?
    It is all out there. The precautionary principle, enshrined in the WHO guidelines for many years, seems wasted on regulatory and planning process in the Australian system. Precaution contains inherent obligations and costs to review risks, but our system is avoiding such examination. Private enterprise says it is too costly to do it all. Consultants are not interested in the hard yards with so little return. They are not working for us all, and nor does the legal system they work in, require or account for this.
    With the downsizing of public expertise in relevant sections of Government, and their isolation from public health causes, it is all too hard for the public sector to gather a measure on public health risks. So much easier for our Ministers to react in the media, and Governments to rely on legal process to sort the minimum requirements, not the most effective.
    In my mind I see our political and business leaders taking a philosophical view of levels of activity in our economy, without regard for the detail. The cost of poorly integrated planning that has a historical reference to the industrial age around the world. The strongest driver is not a more sustainable world with indices associated with ethical decision processes, or risk and performance evaluation, but just a view of differences in economic and financial trends, and globalization. These drivers need to change to something that has greater connection to our community, and contain less noise.

  2. I refer you to “Stop These Things” 7th of March 2013. re-
    Gullen Range Wind farm a Disaster.
    At the end of the comentary it say’s.
    Note. Gullen Range Developer, Gold Wind has close ties to the University of Sydney.
    Where does Professor Chapman work, please correct me if I am wrong.. University of Sydney.
    I rest my case your Honour…

  3. The newly kindled debate by Chapman and his friends, about whether to or not to hold a Senate Enquiry is just another one of his devilish games aimed at keeping the debate on semantics and delaying any action..

    Chapman advised the previous Senate enquiry that a Cohort study would be long and expensive. Two years later, he is still trying to suppress investigation and research.

  4. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Unfortunately the concept of scientific research has gone the way of the wind, nudges and passes on. When you have Sociologists making statements in relation to medical conditions and judgements on other professionals in fields they have no training in then you will have dogma based on social theory, created in a fog of personal desire to prove their theory rather than find the truth. The theory of nacebo cannot be proven, it is simply a ploy to gain publicity and pull the wool over our eyes, to achieve a personal goal and to forward a personal career.

  5. Dr Sarah Laurie, CEO Waubra Foundation says:

    Thank you Bill, for your humane, compassionate and courageous approach to a preventable serious growing public health problem.

    There are indeed some profound moral issues here – and ethical ones too, for those like you and I who have obligations under our professional codes of conduct or ancient oaths to protect the health and safety of the community (engineers), to first do no harm (medical practitioners). In my case, the practice of public health authorities and responsible medical officers to “deny the problem” and “turn a blind eye” is a disgrace.

    Those who are promoting their pet theory that it is “scaremongering” or “the nocebo effect” which is causing the reported symptoms, are not the front line clinicians providing the clinical care to the sick residents, forced out of their homes because of serious health problems. Indeed, most of these de facto advocates for the wind industry are not trained in either acoustics or one of the clinical disciplines involving direct patient care, and therefore do not have the obligations that clinical relationship entails.

    Sadly for those promoting the “nocebo” nonsense in the context of an explanation for the health problems described by residents near wind turbines, there are a growing number of us speaking out. Most of us have endured personal attacks, slander, and harassment, sometimes for years, just for doing our professional duty and speaking out when there is something wrong.

    Such behaviour only strengthens our determination to continue to push for the objective mutlidisciplinary science to be conducted, inside the homes of sick people, at existing wind developments.

    Not measuring the responses of healthy people in a laboratory.

    Not relying on the “perpetrators of the abuse” for information about complaints.

    No amount of pseudoscientific “research”, reeking with confirmatory bias, masquerading as credible research, is going to hide the truth namely that operating wind turbines can cause serious harm to health, and that frequencies below 200 Hz are at least partly responsible for that harm.

  6. Doesn’t it make you terribly suspicious when someone actually has the audacity to say they do NOT want a study…..obviously they are afraid of what they know you may find!!!! Either IWT’s make people sick, or they turn these completely normal, decent citizens into liars and hypochondriacs. The truth is not what the wind industry wants to hear, why would they? Wind turbines are useless machines, but they are making some greedy people very, very rich.

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