A Thorne in the paw of big wind


Dr Bob Thorne is a psychoacoustician, which means he has expertise not just in measuring “noise numbers”, but also in  assessing noise impact on humans.

His career has included working in environmental health within the Queensland government as well as working as an acoustician.  He was awarded his doctorate in the field of noise.

Dr Thorne was commissioned by Noel Dean, from Waubra, to find out why Noel could no longer live in his home.

The Dean report 2010 was the result of that work.  Its findings have been ignored by the Victorian Department of Planning,  which has responsibility for the debacle that is Acciona’s Waubra wind farm.

Waubra is the wind development that doesn’t have a current compliance certificate, and so is breaking the law in receiving Renewable Energy Certificates from the Clean Energy Regulator.

Senator John Madigan called for an investigation into this and was voted down by every single Labor Senator.

Noel and his wife, Janine, started experiencing symptoms almost immediately after the turbines started operating, and were one of the first to speak to the media.

They only did so when they were ignored by all of the responsible authorities.

Note that the above media report was August, 2009 – well before the Waubra Foundation was established, completely debunking claims of a nocebo effect by Chapman et al.

The Deans had farmed their land for years.  At the time they spoke out, they had already abandoned their home because of the severity of their symptoms.

No one in authority or the wind company was prepared to do anything about it.

That is still the case today, despite the Minister for Planning having in his possession clear evidence of non-compliance with the current wind turbine noise regulations and conditions of consent at Waubra.

So Thorne came back and collected more data from residents living at a number of Victorian wind developments.

Whilst he has not stated it in his report, we think it is a fair bet that Waubra might have been one of the sites involved.

Thorne’s study is the first one in the world to combine acoustic measurements together with a comprehensive set of questionnaires, using internationally validated tools such as the Pittsburgh Sleep quality Index to measure Sleep Quality, the World Health Organisation’s Quality of Life survey instrument, and the SF36 questionnaire, which measures mental and physical health indicators.

The subjects of his study were those who had publicly identified themselves as being affected adversely by the wind turbines.

Some of them have had to leave their homes, at least to sleep, even if they return to work on their farms during the day.

These are the people who Chapman and Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery deride, and call “jealous” or “affected by the nocebo effect” with no hard empirical data from these residents to justify these erroneous assertions.

These are the people who public health climate advocates refer to as “collateral damage”, and who bureaucrats openly refer to as “policy roadkill”.

So what did Dr Thorne find?

1.   People had major sleep problems, (see page 11, fig 3.5.1 – a score above 5 indicates disturbed sleep).

2.   There was a disturbing incidence and severity of mental health pathology  in almost everyone.  This is markedly abnormal for any population subset.  (see page 9 fig 3.2.1) – most of the squares are “very much below average”.

3.  When compared to other populations for which there was comparable data, using an internationally accepted measure – the World Health Organisaiton Quality of life scale – the health of these residents was worse on every single indicator, than every other group, including hospital inpatients.  This is an extraordinary finding, and has not attracted anything like the attention it demands.  (see page 8  table 3.1.2)

Dr Thorne’s data, collected directly from these sick residents, confirmed the Nissenbaum and Shepherd findings with respect to sleep, mental health and quality of life.

But it went even further. It demonstrated just how sick these residents exposed to wind turbine noise for more than two years had become.

And did the second Federal Senate inquiry take any notice of Dr Thorne’s groundbreaking research?  Or any of the other experts who gave evidence in the morning of the public hearings?

NUP. Not a bit.

546324-doug-cameronInstead, Senator Doug Cameron leapt on the nocebo bandwagon, together with his Labor and Green colleagues, including the medically trained Senator Richard Di Natale.

They decided that laboratory research on healthy students, for 10-minute exposures at levels of infrasound not known to do anything to anybody, was more credible than real-life data collection from sick people living near wind turbines which emit infrasound AND low frequency noise and audible sound, all of which can and do disturb sleep.

What’s going on here? Are the old union superannuation fund connections to the wind industry relevant?

The Independent Commission Against Corruption into ALP Labor in NSW has uncovered Cameron’s prior links to former Minister Ian McDonald.

Cameron has said he believed in Ian Macdonald’s “integrity” when he backed him to remain a NSW minister while others within the Labor Party fought to boot out the now-disgraced politician.

In light of Cameron’s unbridled support for wind and his ignoring of research such as Thorne’s, we ask is there more to uncover?

Meanwhile, you can access Dr Thorne’s report here.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    The nocebo affect can only affect those who are prone to believe without evidence and/or believe what they are told without first doing their own research of the evidence – it appears the entire Labor Party members of any Government in Australia is suffering from it – because their ‘advisers’ Chapman and Flannery have told them everything is OK even though they are not medically or acoustically trained, have never met or examined those who are ill and have never spent time in their homes to ascertain the truth. Labor members of parliament are to lazy to make their own mind up and speaking out when they know there are problems. They are not mentally or ethically capable of looking after the welfare of people of this nation.

  2. sonia trist says:

    I wish to say how grateful we are to Janine and Noel Dean, and to Dr Bob Thorne. Their ground breaking work into the problems of residents experiencing the destruction of lives lived in close proximity to the wind industries installations, must not go unheeded by those in power.
    To me, the Deans and Dr Bob Thorne are champions, and I am not alone. Thank you .

  3. Money makes the world go ’round… that clinking, clanking sound… makes people go crazy. Politicians, paid off or not, think they do good just by being elected. Either they were born stupid, as my mum used to say, or went to school to get stupid. And they are coloured in Green.

  4. Chapman Co and cronies must be living in a timeless fashion. I guess for their strange ways of logic, there must be prospective nocebo (as in the case of Noel Dean) and retrospective nocebo.

    The former perhaps involves a psychic process where the future to be Waubra Foundation jumped back in time and informed people about WTS…

    May be that’s why hysterical, nocebo riddled Chapman publicly described Sarah Laurie as a high-priestess (AKA a witch).

  5. I’ve said it many many times and after reading this, I’m more convinced. The only possible way that this insanity is continuing with all of these governments around the world turning a blind eye and deaf ear to these obvious health concerns HAS to be one hell of a lot of money being paid to these politicians. There’s no way any other industry would get away with what the wind industry does.

    The only possible, rational explanation is there has to be billions and billions being passed under the table.

    May all of those involved in this huge scam, that hurts so many people …. from the wind industry, to their shills, to the politicians….rot in hell.

  6. Reblogged this on Quixotes Last Stand.


  1. […] time around, however, the Green-Labor Alliance will not be in any position to help […]

  2. […] acoustician Dr Bob Thorne has done that at numerous wind developments across […]

  3. […] Bob Thorne didn’t give evidence, but Dr Laurie did refer to his work. No doubt the Guardians will call on his services to further debunk Chapman’s nocebo nonsense. […]

  4. […] acoustician Dr Bob Thorne has done that at numerous wind developments across […]

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