Red Faces at the Victorian Department of Health

A week or so ago, the wind industry and its parasites crowed about a report released by the Victorian Department of Health, with even more than the usual whiff of desperation.

The report was touted by the Clean Energy Council as a complete exoneration on all charges, sins and omissions.

What a pity it contained absolutely nothing new under the Sun, was not the product of any actual field research coupling health and acoustics, and omitted everything that’s adverse to the interests of developers, and the leeches that depend on them for their survival.

Ah, “selectivity”: some might call it parsimony – STT calls it misleading and deceptive conduct.  And in the case of a Department charged with the care and welfare of the general public, it’s also a gross dereliction of its duty.

Curious too was the fact that no one was prepared to put their name to the document in question.  The authors are not a complete mystery though.

STT is aware that the identity of the authors is now well known within the Health Department and that the Minister has hit the roof about the report and its release.  Apparently, the report was released without his knowledge, let alone approval.  Oops!  Consequently, the authors have some serious explaining to do.

Seems that there are likely to be quite a few Red Faces very soon; not only within the Department, but also a crimson mug or two among the wind industry and certain academic institutions.  The Minister is on the war path and the media are circling the Department itching to find out just what went on, and who was really behind the fiasco.  STT can’t wait.

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Might be time to “gong ‘em”, Red?

Not only are the media on the trail of what quite clearly stinks of big money and wind industry influence, STT champion Annie Gardner dived in and gave the Health Department’s Graeme Gillespie a whopping serve in our “letter of the week”.  STT doesn’t expect the story to end there….  Here’s what Annie served up.

Dear Mr. Gillespie,

I am writing further to your email of 10th May 2013 where you refer to my “concerns about infrasound from the Macarthur wind farm, and our health”.

To begin with, the experiences of sensations and symptoms of people living next to, or indeed quite some distance from wind turbines as is the case at the Macarthur wind farm, are not merely “concerns”.  This appears to be a word deliberately chosen to diminish the significance of what are “FACTS”, giving rise to liability in a number of persons and entities, including the Department of Health etc.

The Victorian Dept. of Health has never bothered to gather evidence of detrimental symptoms and impact, from either audible or low frequency noise/infrasound, caused by wind turbines in this State.  It has simply relied upon untested assertions made by the acoustic consultants regularly engaged by the wind farm developers.  Nowhere in Victoria in this case, has anyone carried out a proper field study to support any of the claims made by the developers, and repeated without question in the Department’s recently released “report” or two fact sheets, Wind farms, Sound and Health (Community information and Technical information).

I would appreciate your responding to the following four questions –

1. I would like the identity of the author or authors of this report, and identities of all those who had input into its creation.

2. This “report” ignores a whole body of peer reviewed research adverse to the interests of wind farm developers and operators, so my second question is – why was this research ignored?

3. Who instructed the author/s to exclude Alec Salt’s work, in addition to the work recorded in the following papers?

“Characterisation of noise in homes affected by wind turbine noise” – Professor Con Doolan.

“Perception-based protection from low-frequency sounds may not be enough” – Alec Salt.

“Numerical simulation of infrasound perception, with reference to prior reported laboratory effects” – Malcolm Swinbanks.

“An investigation on the physiological and psychological effects of infrasound of persons” – Qibai and Shi.

“Wind turbine acoustic investigation; infrasound and low-frequency noise – a case study” – Ambrose and Rand.

“The Shirley Wisconsin report” – from Hessler, Schomer et al.

“Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life” – Daniel Sheppard.

“Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health” – Michael Nissenbaum.

4. Why did the author/s ignore the early work of Professor Leventhall – either selecting only those papers which assert – without any field data to support his assertions that IFLN turbines present no issue for noise, sleep and health?  Or ignoring critical parts of what Professor Leventhall did say in the paper referenced, being “Low Frequency noise: what we know, what we do not know, and what we would like to know”, where he writes, at page 95 on the topic of “Low frequency Noise and Stress”:

Any persistent and unwanted sound, low frequency or high frequency, is a stressor.

Unfortunately, conventional methods of dealing with environmental noise stressors are A-weighted, which means that the presence of disturbing low frequency noise may not be detected.  This absence of a measurement requirement for noise control officers to pursue the source of a low frequency noise, in turn leads to long-term stress effects in the low frequency noise complainant.

Constant low frequency noise has been classified as a background stressor (Benton and Leventhall, 1994: Leventhall et al, 2003). Whilst it is acceptable, under the effects of cataclysmic personal stress, to withdraw from coping with normal daily demands, this is not permissible when exposed to a low-level background stress, although inadequate reserves of coping ability lead to the development of stress symptoms.  In this way, chronic psychophysiological damage may result from long-term exposure to an audible, low-level low frequency noise, which is left uncontrolled, despite complaints.

Even “low-levels” of low frequency noise, when persistent have direct and indirect adverse health effects, not least sleep disturbance and, over the long term, sleep deprivation which has long been recognised by the WHO as itself an adverse health effect.

The World Health Organisation recognises that special consideration should be given to low frequency noise in quiet rural environments and recognises even low levels of low frequency noise as a problem for quality sleep, “because LOW FREQUENCY NOISE (e.g. from ventilation systems) CAN DISTURB REST AND SLEEP EVEN AT LOW SOUND PRESSURE LEVELS”, suggesting a far lower external limit than the limit relied upon in the New Zealand standard: see WHO Guidelines for Community Noise, at pages 28 and 40.

This brings me to page 4 of your Department’s document “Wind farms SOUND and HEALTH Community Information” which reads as follows under the heading CAN INAUDIBLE SOUND AFFECT HEALTH ?”

This sections reads “The evidence indicates that sound can only affect health at sound levels that are loud enough to be easily audible.  This means that if you cannot hear a sound, there is no known way that it can affect health.  This is true regardless of the frequency of the sound.”

This statement is absolute RUBBISH.  It is a TOTAL FRAUD and your Department knows it.  Whoever contributed to this section should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.  Its purpose is obvious and can only have come from the Clean Energy Council, wind farm developers and/or the pseudo-scientists they engage to run spin and “interference” for them.  Infrasound is, by definition, “inaudible”, but that does not mean it cannot be felt.  Google “infrasound and weapon” and count the number of hits.

Would you please point to the field study in Australia which has measured (concurrently) levels of low frequency noise inside and outside homes next to Large IWTs, ie. greater than 2MW?  As you are well aware, there has been NO such study.  The Sonus reports cited do not deal with low frequency noise measured inside Australian homes at all.

The NHMRC is in the same position.  It does not conduct research and will produce a “report,” being merely a literature review that has already excluded an important body of research, including work done by Dr. Bob Thorne in Victoria.

In your email of 10 May 2013, you quote “The department also understands that there is no requirement for wind farm operators to carry out infrasound measurements”.

The fact that one family has been forced to leave their home next to the Macarthur wind farm, and also the receipt by the Department of Health of over one hundred copies of complaints from Macarthur wind neighbours, surely should suggest that THERE IS A HUGE PROBLEM HERE.  Does this not ring alarm bells with the very government department which is supposedly responsible for the health of ALL Victorians?

One would think the Department of Health, as a result of so many very serious complaints, would exercise a duty of care and demand INDEPENDENT FULL SPECTRUM NOISE TESTING at homes up to 8 kilometres from the nearest turbines at the Macarthur wind farm, or at least respectfully contact those complainants and offer to carry out such at their particular homes.

Your comment “We appreciate that the presence of the wind farm is having an effect on you”. What an UNDERSTATEMENT … I’m pleased you understand, but I, along with all the other impacted residents, say to your Department –

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

 Mr. Gillespie, I, along with several other residents, am forced to leave my home and our property (my job) for at least two days and two nights EACH WEEK, so my body is removed from the detrimental impact caused by the turbines, in addition to ground borne vibration, and in order that I may have two good night’s sleep per week.

You continue “We always recommend that individuals consult with their medical practitioner for advice, diagnosis and treatment”.  As far as the residents at Macarthur are concerned, we are being treated with similar contempt by you and your Department, to that which AGL arrogantly displays towards us.  Of course we have consulted with our medical practitioner, on many occasions – he knows what is the cause of our symptoms and the only treatment will be to stop the turbines operating at all!!!

There are now hundreds of rural Victorians adversely affected by excessive wind turbine noise, including high levels of low frequency noise and they ALL deserve protection by the Victorian Department of Health.  The Victorian Health Department has a statutory and common law duty to protect people unluckily situated far too close to industrial wind turbines.

We are of the opinion the Victorian Department of Health needs to be very careful with the current stance it has adopted.  It is our opinion that the Department of Health needs to distance itself from the wind industry.  Being an apologist for the wind industry will see the Department liable in damages for its failure to satisfy its duty of care to Victorians.

The liability of the Victorian Department of Health in damages for nuisance, negligence and/or breach of statutory duty will be determined on the evidence from those people who have been forced to leave their homes, in addition to possibly hundreds of families in Victoria who are unable to enjoy their homes for “rest and repose”, as is their common law right.

We would be pleased to accept your offer to come and discuss the issues with us. However, this offer will only be accepted on the two following conditions –

The first is that the Victorian Department of Health IMMEDIATELY retracts the fact sheets, “Wind Farms, Sound and Health (Community information and Technical information) at the same time making a widespread public announcement in the media, that the Department “got it wrong” and will IMMEDIATELY carry out comprehensive research before releasing an accurate report, stating THE TRUTH about the detrimental impact from turbines on people’s health.

The second condition is that the Victorian Department of Health guarantee IN WRITING that it will immediately commence FULL SPECTRUM NOISE TESTING at all homes within 8 kilometres of the Macarthur wind farm, such noise testing being carried out by an INDEPENDENT acoustic expert, not Marshall Day, Vipac, Sonus or Resonate all of whom are beholden to wind farm developers.

Unless you are able to accede to our above requests, we see no point in meeting with you, unless the Department of Health will acknowledge there is a public disaster here at Macarthur, for which your Department is at least partly responsible.

Yours sincerely,

Ann Gardner (Mrs)

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Well done, Annie – we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    This goes to the core of the problem with this industry. Nowhere did any Government question whether this industry was safe for the purpose it was to be used for or for where the turbines were to be installed. Even WHO, has been slow off the mark, and even now when so many people are reporting illness associated with this industry they are dragging their feet to undertaken full investigation around the world wherever this industry has been allowed to operate. All appear to have been rendered brain dead in the smog of industry spiel, and its supporters irrational rhetoric. Everywhere there is a shortfall in the quota of common sense and due diligence.
    They have rules and regulations to govern the safety of just about everything we do and everything that is produced and or manufactured, and a car with a noisy exhaust can be given a defect notice, but these turbines can continue to destroy people’s lives and the environment with impunity. Governments are so distracted by the need to find alternative energy sources they have set aside all normal duty of care principles, because of a false belief they have found the answer.
    You have reminded the Victorian Government of their duty to the people of Victoria, and I hope all Governments will head the call.

  2. “Annie Get Your Gun”

  3. Well done, Annie, same story different state, EPA, in South Australia had done the same thing to us in Waterloo, no one I know was asked, and the only resurge done that included any of the people of Waterloo by Student ” Zhenhua Wang ”
    Wind Turbine Syndrome affects more people than previously thought! What happened to this report, and why didn’t the E P A look into this ????????

    A survey was conducted on wind farm noise as part of a Master’s dissertation by Zhenhua Wang, a graduate student in Geography, Environment and Population at the University of Adelaide, Australia. The results show that 70% of respondents living up to 5km away report being negatively affected by wind turbine noise, with more than 50% of them “very or moderately negatively affected”. This is considerably higher than what was found in previous studies conducted in Europe.
    The survey was made in the vicinity of the Waterloo wind farm, South Australia, which is composed of 37 Vestas V90 3 MW turbines stretching over 18 km (1). These mega turbines are reported to be emitting more low frequency noise (LFN) than smaller models, and this causes more people to be affected, and over greater distances, by the usual symptoms of the Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS): insomnia, headaches, nausea, stress, poor ability to concentrate, irritability, etc., leading to poorer health and a reduced immunity to illness.
    The Danish government recognised recently that LFN is an aggravating component in the noise that affects wind farm neighbours. This prompted their issuing regulations that limit low-frequency noise levels inside homes to 20 dB(A). Unfortunately, as denounced by Professor Henrik Moller, they manipulated the calculation parameters so as to allow LFN inside homes to actually reach 30 dB(A) in 30% of cases. “Hardly anyone would accept 30 dB(A) in their homes at night”, wrote the Professor last month (2).
    A summary of the Australian survey has been published (3), but the full Masters dissertation has not been made available to the public. In the interest of public health, the European Platform against Windfarms (EPAW) and the North-American Platform against Windpower (NA-PAW), have asked the University of Adelaide to release this important document.
    Don’t think that EPAW or NA-PAW got that paper released, I sure didn’t get a copy, even after asking twice, still waiting !!!!
    Thanks Annie, if i can help? just let me know.
    Waterloo Turbine Refugee .

  4. Shame on the Victorian Health Department for releasing such absolute lies when so many good Victorian country people are having their once peaceful lives complelely destroyed by Wind turbines located too close to their homes. Wake up Dennis! Get to the bottom of this government-sponsored fraud and put a stop to it.

  5. Ann you just hit the Victorian Department of Health right in the GUTS, with the truth that they have been hiding from the public. They have been hiding the truth so the FRAUD can continue, allthough when you have such CONS for a Premier & a Prime Minister, what else can you expect from such DRIPS.

    I hope in Queensland we have a Goverment that is far above what is in Melbourne & Canberra, as our QLD Goverment is still forming a policy on wind turbines although we have the noise regulation which is 30 dba inside homes at night.

    AGL will not do the attenuation testing because they know they can not satisfy the regulation, as they are hoping that they can build the Coopers Gap Industrial Turbines without meeting the noise regulation. They are like the other wind companys, full of wind & you can smell the STENCH.

    ANN YOU ARE A HERO

    It will be interresting to see how the VIC Goverment responds to your letter & questions.

  6. david mortimer says:

    Go Get ’em Annie!

    Food for thought. — A couple of months or so ago, my wife and I spent the night at Mary Morris’s farm in our camper. When we are away from home (and wind turbines) we sleep soundly and wake next morning quite refreshed, unlike at home where we just want to go to sleep. When we went to bed at Mary’s, we both expected to have a wonderfully peaceful sleep. The eveining was quiet but after about 10 minutes, I rolled over and said to my wife “you’re not going to believe this” to which she replied “yes, I can feel it too!”. We both experienced a pulsing sensation in our heads accompanied by a sense of anxiety, symptoms we only get at home near the wind turbines. Needless to say, our “sleep” was severely disturbed. Next morning, we asked Mary if there was a wind farm near – she pointed to the Waterloo wind farm some 17 Kilometres away!!!!!

    Recently we were in King Island (Tas) and spent the night in a B&B on the south west coast. We arrived after 11.00pm and so could not see our surrounds. The sea was calm and there was a moderate wind blowing. We went to bed expecting a wonderfully refreshing sleep. Once again, we experienced the pulsing in our heads and the associated sense of anxiety. Our sleep was very poor. Next morning as we drove back into the town of Currie, we noticed a group of 5 wind turbines each around the 1megawatt size about 4 km from our B&B!!! The second night, the symptoms were worse as the wind blew directly over the turbines toward our B&B.

    Those were two occasions where neither of us was aware that there were turbines anywhere near us. If I hadn’t experienced this for myself, I would seriously doubt that turbines at those distances could produce such severe symptoms. I can understand why some people are sceptical. I say to those who are, “just try and live in our home”. Remember,..We are wind turbine hosts and yes, we get paid for it.

    • Thank you for your honesty, David. Most host farmers are either too scared, or too proud, to tell the truth. All of the people all over the world that are experiencing these symptoms, and all for the same reason. My….that’s one heck of a co-incidence, so many people becoming hypochondriacs, many without even knowing that there were other people who had the same experiences. Now the Wind Industry believes wind turbines cause hypochondria, hysteria, dishonesty, the Nocebo effect, and countless other psychological ailments….LOL. That alone, should be reason enough to ban them.

  7. Narelle Goodall says:

    Well done Ann! Keep at it……..you have to wear them down eventually & get them listening. May your energy levels continue long enough!

  8. Shelley McDonald says:

    Well said Annie. Keep at it you are amazing. You will wake them up in the end.

Trackbacks

  1. […] are we talking about the pile of dross put together by the wind industry and dished up by your Victorian Health Department – an anonymously authored document which has been thoroughly slammed by the world’s top […]

  2. […] a leading academic institution – and by some of the sleaziest wind weasels in the business. Red Faces are a […]

  3. […] A few weeks back, you’ll remember the wind industry, its parasites and apologists crowing long and loud about a piece of tosh dished up by a couple of patsies in the Vic Health Dept – apparently, much to the horror of the Minister – as covered in our post “Red Faces at the Victorian Department of Health“. […]

  4. […] remember the serve Annie Gardner dished up recently to the Victorian Department of Health over its lamentable piece of wind industry backed […]

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