Australian Court Finds Wind Turbine Noise Exposure a ‘Pathway to Disease’: Waubra Foundation Vindicated

Sarah Laurie’s tireless efforts entirely vindicated by the AAT.


In a World first, Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has declared that the “noise annoyance” caused by wind turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound “is a plausible pathway to disease” based on the “established association between noise annoyance and some diseases, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, possibly mediated in part by disturbed sleep and/or psychological stress/distress.”

The AAT also held that “The dB(A) weighting system is not designed to measure [wind turbine noise], and is not an appropriate way of measuring it.”

The dB(A) weighting system is the basis of every wind turbine noise guideline in operation around the world.

The AAT’s finding means that every one of those noise guidelines is premised on an acoustic nonsense and, therefore, entirely irrelevant.

The decision, which we deal with below, came at a time when Australia’s self-appointed wind turbine noise health ‘expert’, Simon Chapman (a former tobacco advertising guru) was feverishly promoting his latest piece of wind industry backed propaganda, an ‘e-book’ being ‘sold’ for the princely sum of $0.00 (as they say, ‘you get what you pay for!’), described quite fairly by Senator David Leyonhjelm as “a book that repeats his unqualified fantasies”.

Here’s what Senator Leyonhjelm had to say about Chapman’s ‘qualifications’ and his latest collection of wind industry backed propaganda.

Select Committee on Red Tape
Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Senator LEYONHJELM (New South Wales) (20:36): I rise to speak about a 24 November article in The Australian by Adam Creighton, which reports that a trio of anti-smoking health nannies, led by Simon Chapman, provided a ‘series of factual errors’ at a parliamentary inquiry into vaping and the use of e-cigarettes. Simon Chapman’s claims were so inaccurate they prompted a response from Public Health England. That’s correct; part of the UK’s Department of Health were so taken aback by Simon Chapman’s false statements that they felt the need to go on the record to clear things up. The story even made it into the French media.

During the parliamentary inquiry, Chapman and his group of health nannies made no fewer than seven false and misleading claims about vaping restrictions overseas and the results of legalisation in other countries. These inaccuracies had the potential to negatively affect the outcome of this important inquiry. It would appear as though Professors Chapman, Freeman and Swanson may have taken it upon themselves to purposely provide the public with false information to stop any changes to the government’s policies on e-cigarettes. This would be an enormous tragedy, because the evidence is that e-cigarettes save lives. The fewer people smoke tobacco, the less their chances of dying.

Rates of smoking are in significant decline in countries that allow e-cigarettes, but not in Australia. Australia’s current policy means people who are trying to save their lives through quitting smoking can face jail terms of up to two years and fines of up to $45,000 just for possessing nicotine that’s not in a cigarette. In other words, you can possess nicotine in a cigarette but not in a form that’s safer to use.

In case some claim that the information presented by the professors was misconstrued or that these professors made some mistakes when presenting their information, let me tell you some more. Chapman goes to great lengths to let everyone under the sun know about his expertise in the field of tobacco research, and he is, possibly, the most vocal anti-smoking nanny-statist in Australia. The idea that he would by accident misrepresent information where the misrepresentation just happens to suit his agenda seems too far-fetched. Stretching the truth in order to pursue what a nanny-statist perceives to be the greater good is not beyond the pale, especially for a man like Simon Chapman.

This is a man who, despite having no discernible knowledge about wind farm technologies, decided to present poorly conceived and patently false information at the wind farm inquiry in which I was heavily involved. He cited many of his own publications in order to make his case that the ill-effects some local residents associated with wind turbines are due to a nocebo effect. This means, in his words:

… the phenomenon of people claiming to be adversely affected by exposure to wind turbines is best understood as a communicated disease that exhibits many signs of the classic psychosocial and nocebo phenomenon where negative expectations can translate into symptoms of tension and anxiety.

He made these claims despite not being a medical practitioner, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, an acoustician, an audiologist, a physicist or even an engineer.

In the final report by the Select Committee on Wind Turbines the committee made a point on taking on Chapman’s dodgy workings and spurious claims, noting:

Professor Chapman has made several claims which are contrary to the evidence gathered by this committee.

I will mention two of them. He said that the majority of Australia’s wind turbines have never received a single complaint. The evidence didn’t indicate that, but it’s not relevant. Wind farms are only a problem if people live too close to them. He claimed that complaints of adverse health effects from wind farms tend to be limited to anglophone nations—quite false, which the evidence confirmed. There were others. Now he has even published a book that repeats his unqualified fantasies. Chapman’s qualifications are an undergraduate degree in sociology and a PhD in social medicine, specifically related to the semiotics of cigarette advertising. If you need to know the meaning behind an ad for Marlboro, Dr Chapman might just be the man for you—or at least he can claim to know a bit about the subject—but, if you need professional advice on health matters or, indeed, anything of a scientific or technical nature, you’d be best to steer well clear of him.

When Chapman is not off trying to impose his will on Australia through punitive restrictions, he can be found soaking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ funds to conduct research that always seems tailored to suit his ideological agenda. Chapman is at the end of his career and his ability to do further damage to Australia’s policy environment is limited, but I would like to highlight to my colleagues in the Senate that health nannies like Chapman are more than willing to attend inquiries and provide any information they can in order to suit their agenda. It does not matter to them if the information they provide is false or the research they point to is flawed, because the ends justify the means. In this instance the end goal is to continue the ban on safer nicotine alternatives and allow hundreds of thousands of people to suffer.

Policymakers in this place should learn from Chapman’s antics and remember that, when you are looking to inform your policies with evidence, you should always look at the actual experience and credentials of those you call on to give evidence, otherwise you end up with ill-informed, wilfully ignorant and downright malicious people like Chapman rocking up on the taxpayers’ dollar to give you research that suits their particular agenda.

Snake-oil salesmen come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they take the guise of an emeritus professor of sociology.
5 December 2017


Ouch!! Nothing like having your self-proclaimed ‘expertise’ smashed in a very public forum.

Now, back to the AAT’s groundbreaking decision on wind turbine noise and health.

The case involved an appeal by the Waubra Foundation against a decision of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), which withdrew its deductible gift recipient status (a tax benefit to donors), based squarely on the nonsense put forward by the likes of Simon Chapman; viz, that there is no way on earth that exposure to wind turbine noise can cause any adverse health effects in humans, ever.

As pointed out by Senator Leyonhjelm above, the guru has been peddling his ‘nocebo’ myth at the behest of his wind industry clients (such as Infigen) for years now, asserting, without a shred of credible evidence that: … “the phenomenon of people claiming to be adversely affected by exposure to wind turbines is best understood as a communicated disease that exhibits many signs of the classic psychosocial and nocebo phenomenon where negative expectations can translate into symptoms of tension and anxiety.”

Despite his exemplary qualifications and the depth of his experience on the effects of wind turbine noise on health, the guru was never called by the ACNC to give evidence to support his myth. Probably because the only real qualification he possesses (apart from being an Emeritus Professor at the School of Self-Promotion) is, as Senator Leyonhjelm points out, a PhD “specifically related to the semiotics of cigarette advertising”, and a degree in sociology.

Notwithstanding his much-touted credentials, the guru has never given evidence in a Court or Tribunal in defence of his various fictions and fantasies: Simon Chapman, Will Grant & Jacqui Hoepner: the Wind Industry’s Health “Expert” Great Pretenders

The AAT declined to restore the Waubra Foundation’s DGR status, principally because that plucky little outfit is really a one-woman power house, embodied in Dr Sarah Laurie and, due to the  immeasurable time she devotes to assisting noise battered residents, her bookkeeping wasn’t up to scratch.

When the decision broke, the usual suspects jumped for joy, believing it to be the end of one of the biggest threats the wind industry faces. However, as we detail below, reports of the death of Sarah Laurie and the Waubra Foundation have been greatly exaggerated before, as now.

The leader of the Sydney Morning Herald’s wind cult, Peter Hannam ran a story based on a hysterical rant by none other than Simon Holmes a Court, declaring the decision to be a brilliant victory for big wind.

Like most things penned by Hannam, the truth is often an elusive little critter. Maybe he was misled by Holmes a Court (highly likely), or he simply failed to read the decision?

Hannam has form for shooting from the lip: he was forced into a humiliating back down over a false and malicious attack he made on Sarah Laurie’s status as a medical practitioner – along with Ketan Joshi (Infigen), Ken McAlpine (Vestas) and, fittingly, Simon Chapman: Dr Sarah Laurie Hits Wind Industry’s Usual Suspects – Ketan Joshi, Ken McAlpine, Simon Chapman & Peter Hannam for Malicious Lies

Here’s what the AAT actually had to say about the effect of low-frequency wind turbine noise on human health.

The full decision – Waubra Foundation v Commissioner of Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission [2017] AAT – is available here: Waubra and ACNC Decision

Starting at para 467 of the judgment, here are the key factual findings and conclusions on noise and health:


On our analysis, a number of propositions emerge from the medical and scientific evidence. Some of those propositions had unanimous support by the relevant experts, and others had the support of most.

The propositions which we understand have unanimous support from the relevant experts or are not contested include the following:

  • Wind turbines emit sound, some of which is audible, and some of which is inaudible (infrasound);
  • There are numerous recorded instances of WTN exceeding 40 dB(A) (which is a recognised threshold for annoyance/sleep disturbance);
  • There are also recorded instances of substantial increases in sound at particular frequencies when particular wind farms are operating compared with those at times when they are shut down. [Measurements undertaken at the Waterloo wind farm showed that “noise in the 50 Hz third-octave band was found to increase by as much as 30 dB when the wind farm was operational compared to when it was shut down” – Exhibit A51, p 2.]
  • If it is present at high enough levels, low frequency sound and even infrasound may be audible;
  • WTN is complex, highly variable and has unique characteristics;
  • The amount and type of sound emitted by a wind farm at a given time and in a given location is influenced by many variables including topography, temperature, wind speed, the type of wind turbines, the extent to which they are maintained, the number of turbines, and their mode of operation;
  • Wind farms potentially operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
  • There are numerous examples of WTN giving rise to complaints of annoyance from nearby residents, both in Australia and overseas.

The propositions which are supported by the preponderance of relevant expert opinion, and which we accept on that basis, include the following:

  • A significant proportion of the sound emitted by wind turbines is in the lower frequency range, i.e. below 20 Hz;
  • The dB(A) weighting system is not designed to measure that sound, and is not an appropriate way of measuring it. It is even acknowledged in the International Standard, ISO 1996-1 that the A-weighting system alone is “not sufficient to assess sounds characterized by tonality, impulsiveness or strong low-frequency content” – Exhibit A29, T43/8; Section 6.1; “Acoustics – Description, measurement and assessment of environmental noise – Part 1: Basic quantities and assessment procedures”, International Standard ISO (1996-1).
  • The most accurate way of determining the level and type of sound present at a particular location is to measure the sound at that location;
  • The best way of accurately measuring WTN at a particular location is through ‘raw’ unweighted measurements which are not averaged across time and are then subjected to detailed “narrow-band” analysis;
  • When it is present, due to its particular characteristics, low frequency noise and infrasound can be greater indoors than outdoors at the same location, and can cause a building to vibrate, resulting in resonance;
  • Humans are more sensitive to low frequency sound, and it can therefore cause greater annoyance than higher frequency sound;
  • Even if it is not audible, low frequency noise and infrasound may have other effects on the human body, which are not mediated by hearing but also not fully understood. Those effects may include motion-sickness-like symptoms, vertigo, and tinnitus-like symptoms. However, the material before us does not include any study which has explored a possible connection between such symptoms and wind turbine emissions in a particular population.

We consider that the evidence justifies the following conclusions:

  • The proposition that sound emissions from wind farms directly cause any adverse health effects which could be regarded as a “disease” for the purposes of the ACNC Act is not established;
  • Nor, on the current evidence, is there any plausible basis for concluding that wind farm emissions may directly cause any disease;
  • However, noise annoyance is a plausible pathway to disease. We note the World Health Organization has stated: “There is sufficient evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the population’s exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects. Therefore, environmental noise should be considered not only as a cause of nuisance but also a concern for public health and environmental health”– Exhibit A4, T287/5709, citing “WHO. Burden of disease from environmental noise.” World Health Organization; 2011 [viewed April 2013]; Available from: as referenced by Professor G Wittert in Exhibit 56 NHMRC Draft Information Paper: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health, “Expert Review: Comments in full”, National Health and Medical Research Council, February 2015, Appendix 8; and Exhibit 4, T299/6308, Reference No. 40, WHO “Burden of disease from environmental noise”. Bonn: World Health Organization European Centre for Environment and Health, 2011. Available from:
  • There is an established association between WTN annoyance and adverse health effects (eg. this was established by the Health Canada study);
  • There is an established association between noise annoyance and some diseases, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, possibly mediated in part by disturbed sleep and/or psychological stress/distress. This is also supported by much of the documentary material before us, including a Victorian Department of Health publication entitled “Wind farms, sound and health”, Technical Information, at 7. How can noise affect our health? – Exhibit A4, T297/6232362.
  • There are as yet no comprehensive studies which have combined objective health measurements with actual sound measurements in order to determine for a given population the relationships between the sound emissions of wind turbines, annoyance, and adverse health outcomes. Indeed there is as yet no study which has given rise to a soundly based understanding of the degree to which particular types or levels of wind turbine emissions give rise to annoyance, or what levels or types of emissions are associated with what level of annoyance in the population. Because it relied on calculated rather than actual sound measurements, and was limited to the A and C-weighted systems, the Health Canada study did not do this.

The applicant submitted that the evidence in the hearing provided plausible and credible evidence of the kind required. Counsel referred in particular to the effect of noise on sleep and, in particular, in disturbing sleep. It was not contentious that impaired sleep, if sufficiently serious, may result in a number of ailments and diseases. Professor Wittert said that “depression and sleep disturbance are, respectively, the first and third most common psychological reasons for patient encounters in general practice”. The professor went on to say that insomnia doubles the risk of future development of depression and that insomnia symptoms together with shortened sleep are associated with hypertension. Professor Wittert also said that a person suffering from restricted sleep is exposed to an increased risk of elevated blood sugar levels and endocrine disorders such as diabetes, symptomatic ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, obesity, insomnia and anxiety related illnesses.

The applicant emphasised that Environmental Sleep Disorder has been recognised in the International Classification of Diseases, although there does appear to be some controversy about its existence as a separate and discrete condition.

We also note that the evidence indicated that the annoyance resulting from noise during sleeping times may be greater for those with a noise sensitivity or who have become sensitised to noise.

As our earlier findings have indicated, some wind farms generate sound which is capable of causing, and does cause, annoyance. We are further satisfied that annoyance of the kind which is generated (often associated with psychological distress and sleep disturbance), is a recognised pathway to a range of adverse health outcomes, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

There has to date been no large scale study comparing the actual sound generated by wind turbines, on the one hand, with the annoyance and objectively measured health effects apparently produced by that sound, on the other.

The Health Canada study involved both self-reported and objective health measures. That study supported a connection between WTN and annoyance, but did not link annoyance with the amount of WTN recorded. As the experts pointed out however, there are some significant limitations to this study. A major limitation is that the conclusions of the study were based on calculated, rather than actual, noise measurements (although some of the calculated noise levels were based on measurements). However, as we understand the evidence, the sound generated by wind turbines is so variable that actual measurements are to be preferred. We accept that measurements based on estimates or averages may not accurately reflect the sound which was present when the particular level of annoyance was experienced or recorded.

Another significant drawback of the Health Canada study, as we understand it, is that the WTN was measured in dB(A) and dB(C). All of the evidence before us is to the effect that WTN cannot be accurately captured in dB(A), or even dB(C) (although dB(C) is preferable). The preponderance of the acoustic evidence is also to the effect that by far the best way of capturing the sound produced by wind farms is to take unweighted measurements, and then subject them to detailed analysis, including narrow band analysis, to determine the components of the sound which is present.

Given the absence of detailed studies, we accept the evidence of many of the experts that there is as yet no “dose-response” curve which applies to wind turbine sound which can be used by policy makers to set appropriate limits on wind farm sound emissions. Consequently, limits are set by reference to the levels which have been found to be applicable in the context of different kinds of noise, such as road traffic noise. In many cases, the limits are set by reference to dB(A). We note again the consensus that wind farm sound emissions cannot be accurately captured in dB(A). We also accept the evidence of most of the experts that, given there is a plausible basis for expecting adverse health outcomes associated with annoyance caused by WTN, there is a need for further studies to determine in particular the levels and types of WTN which are associated with annoyance, as well as the extent to which wind turbine annoyance is associated with adverse health outcomes (which has been addressed to some extent already by the Health Canada study).

It follows in our view that the applicant has established that there is a plausible basis for thinking that wind turbine sound (mediated by annoyance) may lead to adverse health outcomes, such as to warrant further investigation. It is unnecessary for us to draw conclusions as to the precise nature of the annoyance which is caused, and whether annoyance may be caused by sound which is not audible (infrasound). That is something which we expect will be the subject of further study and investigation. For our purposes, it is sufficient that annoyance is produced, and it appears that it may be associated with adverse health outcomes. An identification of the causes of that annoyance may allow it to be reduced or mitigated and adverse health outcomes to be reduced or avoided.

As will be apparent from our discussion of the evidence, we have considered all the material put forward, including that relating to non-physical effects. We accept that the evidence points to an association and a plausible pathway between WTN and adverse health effects (of a physical nature), mediated by annoyance, sleep disturbance and/or psychological distress.

The Honourable Justice White, Deputy President
Deputy President K Bean
Date: 4 December 2017

Not quite the victory for big wind pumped up by Peter Hannam and his buddy Simon Holmes a Court.

Behind-the-scenes the wind industry used Greens Senator Richard Di Natale to help them orchestrate the ACNC’s decision to revoke the Waubra Foundation’s DGR status. Given the findings set out above, that little effort has just resulted in a monumental ‘own goal’. Oops!

What wind farm neighbours now have is a precedent which, for the first time addresses, in an unbiased way, the evidence of the harm caused by long-term exposure to wind turbine noise.

It’s to be noted that Professor Wittert was called by the ACNC, as their hired gun on health, and that Wittert has previously bent over backwards to defend his wind industry clients. This time, however, he was forced to make numerous, critical concessions which resulted in the AAT’s findings, extracted above.

And, far from this being the end of the Waubra Foundation, the AAT’s decision entirely vindicates Sarah Laurie’s efforts to hold the wind industry and regulators to account.

Critically, the AAT held that “The dB(A) weighting system is not designed to measure the low-frequency sound emitted by wind turbines, and is not an appropriate way of measuring it.” And that: “The best way of accurately measuring WTN at a particular location is through ‘raw’ unweighted measurements which are not averaged across time and are then subjected to detailed “narrow-band” analysis”.

Those findings mean that every wind turbine noise standard/guideline/criteria in use around the world is utterly irrelevant, because they are all based on the dB(A) weighting system, and none of them include any reference to ‘raw’ unweighted measurements, not averaged across time.

Instead, they are all based on a series of measurement metrics and averaging specifically chosen by the wind industry to get away with acoustic torture. As a result, none of these standards/guidelines/criteria are capable of determining noise impacts on residents, nor were they designed to.

As STT has pointed out, the wind industry and its pet acoustic consultants have worked for the best part of 30 years to ensure that the noise impacts from wind turbines are never measured: Three Decades of Wind Industry Deception: A Chronology of a Global Conspiracy of Silence and Subterfuge

In the light of the AAT’s careful and considered decision on inadequate wind turbine noise measurement and their finding that “noise annoyance” caused by wind turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound “is a plausible pathway to disease” based on the “established association between noise annoyance and some diseases, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, possibly mediated in part by disturbed sleep and/or psychological stress/distress”, STT fully expects Sarah Laurie and the Waubra Foundation to keep doing what it does best: helping the unnecessary victims of a disgraceful industry and holding the feet of noise regulators to the fire.

Peter Hannam, Simon Holmes a Court, the guru, and every other paid up member of the wind cult, can count on it.

Simple Simon: the boy who couldn’t read…

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Reblogged this on Climate-

  2. 4TimesAYear says:

    Reblogged this on 4TimesAYear's Blog.

  3. Steven &Hilary Gallina says:

    Sarah, many thanks to you and your team for taking us seriously, congratulations.

  4. Reblogged this on citizenpoweralliance.

  5. Crispin Trist says:

    In 2012 a wind farm forum was held in Portland, Victoria, Australia. The debate was hosted by Senator John Madigan and Senator Nick Xenophon. Unfortunately Nick could not attend as he was unwell at the time. Pacific Hydro’s Lane Crockett also spoke prior to a presentation by acoustician Steven Cooper who discusses the concept of multi disciplinary research.

    There was potential for both pro wind and anti wind parties to come to blows. Portland is a major part of the supply chain for the industry. However this was not the case and a reasonably healthy debate was undertaken.

    Sadly the same could not be said for the following night. The forum in Bacchus Marsh was constantly interrupted by Simon Holmes a Court and others. This is not included in this video.

    Please forgive the shaky camera work towards the end of the meeting. The footage was originally intended for personal note taking purposes only. However having recently rediscovered the video, and after several requests, I have posted the link below.

    I have included a link to the follow up meeting held in Portland 2015.

  6. In regards to the AAT judgement, there seems to be a misunderstanding in the commentary about wind turbine noise (WTN) and sound. WTN of 40dBA (A weighting) is a subjective assessment of the sound that is heard, where as 40dB is a measurement of sound pressure in the Decibel scale, the requirement of the New Zealand Standard (NZS) which is the standard used for the Waubra wind farm.

    Section 5.3 of the NZS requires the assessment of Special Audible Characteristics (SAC). SACs are measured by a subjective assessment of WTN, that is supported by an objective assessment, and if required, supported by frequency analysis. This is important because SACs are made up of different sound frequencies in the high frequency range that present in a low frequency pattern because of air pressure change. In other words, the sounds that are heard consists of sounds that travel at the speed of sound which is varied by air pressure change. Without without both subjective and objective assessment being done at the same time it is difficult to determine the noise and the sound at any point in time.

    Condition 15 of the Waubra Wind Farm permit states that any complaint in relation to any alleged breach of the noise limit of the operating permit, requires an assessment of SAC to be performed (subjective and objective assessment of noise and sound performed at the same time).

    SACs are present at the Waubra wind farm. I can hear them. Independent reports say that are present. The tonality report for the turbines say they exist. Therefore the 5dB penalty to the noise limit should apply. However, the problem for Acciona is that to comply requires the removal of two thirds of the turbines for every 5dB over the limit.

    Given that Acciona has said in their self-authored noise monitoring plan that most of the assessed properties are predicted to be 45dB, this would mean that the size of the Waubra Wind farm would need to be reduced from 128 turbines down to 15 turbines. The way out is to make sure the objective assessment is not done, and they have been very successful in doing this.

    The AAT judgement refers to International standard ISO 1996-1. This is NOT the standard used at Waubra for the measurement of sound done by Marshall Day Acoustics (MDA) as IEC61400-11 is referenced. This requires the descriptor LAeq to be used but MDA has mislead us by not using this in the monitoring plan. Instead they used LA95.

    I am surprised that the descriptor LA95 wasbeing not being used in the AAT judgement, as the decricptor LA95 only considers the quietist 5 per cent of the measured period. At the Mt Emerald Wind Farm in Queensland the descriptor is referenced to be used without the use of any premeasured background level being considered.

    The judgement also mentioned that low frequency sound can cause buildings to vibrate, resulting in reasonance. My investigation was that the resonance frequencies are the same as those mentioned in the wind test reports. Testing done inside of our house also revealed that the vibration of the pillow was twice the level as the windows. This is consistent with the judgement which says that low frequency sound/noise is higher inside than outside.

    Wind Farm Developers are required to measure the sound pressure level against the issued operating permit conditions without sound levels being measured. There is no way of knowing the sound /air pressure level and there are variations that people are complaining about.

    I am at a loss as to why the AAT judgement has not considered the lack of sound pressure levels assessments. These are required in conjunction with Noise events close to the turbines as the ripple effects/pulsing are similar to a pebble thrown in to water, only on a much larger scale.

    To sum up, what is the use of permit condition noise limits if they have not been checked? At Waubra wind farm there is no evidence of the limits being checked in a manner that a lay person can understand. Has the AAT seen the Waubra post construction report? This report suggests the sound of operting turbines is less than when the turbines are not operating!

    Noel Dean

    • Thanks, Noel for your insights. We suggest you read the judgment in full. The issue was not noise standards themselves, but whether noise exposure is associated with disease. Noise regulations are woefully inadequate, as the AAT found. It was not a Royal Commission on noise standards, although it is time there was one.

      • In response to STT response, I am not disputing the Noise standards, but that of the noise exposure associated with the disease. This exposure has not been identified with factual evidence as required in a civil matter, which is required by the issued permit for the Waubra Wind Farm

        The legal conduct at planning hearings I question. Be it the conduct, or lack of, by the Panel, the developer, the planning department, Council and the legal advisor to the Host.

        The EPA has the power to measure the sound like any other sound in the environment. There is provision for the planning department or the Council to request the Victorian EPA to measure the sound emissions. The measurement of noise is for the protection of sleep to ensure quality of life, and this was not done as required at our property.

        A royal Commission could take ten years. Noise measurement is required within 10 days by permit. SACs investigation assesses low frequency noise. To say that NOISE Regulations are woefully inadequate without first doing the sound pressure level measurements in a report that a lay person can understand is unjust.

        The SACs assessment relies on the capability and the desire of the Acoustic expert to do so do, in conditions that were responsible for complaints being made by the complainant against the standards required by permit. This is required by a third party independent of the operator knowing the testing is being done. MDA agreed to do this assessment, but we received nothing from MDA.

        Noel Dean

      • Noel, the AAT decision should be used in the planning hearings you talk about, because the findings are relevant for the reasons we have set out. They are also relevant to the question of the liability of those who set up and rely on noise standards that do not involve full-spectrum, unweighted noise gathering, presented in narrow band without averaging.

        The finding that using dB(A) and averaging is not appropriate for the measurement of WTN is significant. We suggest you try to use it your advantage.

  7. See:

    I stumbled onto that older article which contains the dubious claim that “new generation turbines made no noise and co-existed well with the local community.” It was in response to Tony Abbott’s negative comments about wind farms.

    Does anyone know if newer “quiet” wind turbines is total nonsense circa 2015+? They mention the usual ploy of happy cows and quietude directly underneath the turbines but big blades resisting big amounts of air can’t be quiet from the most affected locations; usually well downwind, broadcast horizontally.

    The other complaint in the article was about their ugliness but that was dodged by focusing only on noise, a typical tactic since you can’t hide anything that large.



    Great news.

  9. Thanks for a masterful article STT and thanks also to Senator David Leyonhjelm for stepping in to continue the worthy work of the blacksmith from Ballarat (former Senator John Madigan) of holding the feet of the wind rent seekers to the fire.  Non-legal types, like me, initially probably saw this rejected appeal as an all bad outcome for fairness without understanding the legal implications of the AAT findings.

    While I believe this decision is a slap in the face for Dr. Sarah Laurie and the other selfless Waubra Foundation people, hopefully in time these findings will assist others to shut the wind industry down for good.  As for the wind industry rent seekers and their handmaidens, one can only hope for a bit of karma.

  10. Uncle Fester despises Jupiter says:

    To the NHMRC (and all those who delibeately mis-quote the NHMRC paper)


    Pun intended

  11. In the 18 months prior to the Waubra Foundation being established, my family were bombarded with Acciona’s cruel and cowardly conduuct after we made a complaint of non compliance in mid 2009. It was a great foresight of Peter in setting up the Waubra Foundation with Kathy’s support.

    Thank you Sarah for all the great work you have done. You have been there in our times of need.

    Let’s hope that the testing of sound, as is required by permit, and the SACs penalty is implemented ASAP. I believe this would have eliminated a huge amount of suffering of people living near unregulated wind farms in Victoria.

    Noel Dean


  13. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    In a World first, Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has declared that the “noise annoyance” caused by wind turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound “is a plausible pathway to disease” based on the “established association between noise annoyance and some diseases, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, possibly mediated in part by disturbed sleep and/or psychological stress/distress.”
    The AAT also held that “The dB(A) weighting system is not designed to measure [wind turbine noise], and is not an appropriate way of measuring it.”
    The dB(A) weighting system is the basis of every wind turbine noise guideline in operation around the world.
    The AAT’s finding means that every one of those noise guidelines is premised on an acoustic nonsense and, therefore, entirely irrelevant.
    The decision, which we deal with below, came at a time when Australia’s self-appointed wind turbine noise health ‘expert’, Simon Chapman (a former tobacco advertising guru) was feverishly promoting his latest piece of wind industry backed propaganda, an ‘e-book’ being ‘sold’ for the princely sum of $0.00 (as they say, ‘you get what you pay for!’), described quite fairly by Senator David Leyonhjelm as “a book that repeats his unqualified fantasies”.
    Here’s what Senator Leyonhjelm had to say about Chapman’s ‘qualifications’ and his latest collection of wind industry backed propaganda.

  14. Reblogged this on UPPER SONACHAN WIND FARM and commented:
    All UK and European lawyers please take note.

  15. This is also very welcome news for the rest of the world, where there has been little success in getting health authorities to take this issue seriously. Questions: Can this decision be overturned in a superior court of Australia? Would anyone in Australia be willing to speculate now what this decision will mean, in practice, to the way that established wind farms will operate in the future?

    • It comes from the AAT, which sits below the Federal Court, in the hierarchy of Courts (the High Court sits at the top). This AAT had a senior Federal Court Justice, White J, presiding as the President of the Tribunal.

      The ACNC will not appeal, because the decision is ultimately in its favour, although it is, no doubt, embarrassed by the AAT’s wholesale rejection of the basis for the ACNC’s decision and its submissions on appeal that WTN cannot cause any illness or disease in humans.

      The AAT decision is not binding on superior courts, but, given that a Federal Court Justice sat on the Tribunal, the range of expert evidence heard and the careful reasoning set out in the judgment, the decision will be regarded as persuasive by other Courts and Tribunals. It should make life difficult for planning tribunals, planning authorities (local councils/municipal government), EPAs and noise regulators, around the World.

      STT calls the decision ‘ground breaking’, and it is. Try and find a comparable decision in any common law jurisdiction. If you do, we’ll gladly publish it. Until then, use this decision to hit the wind industry and its apologists where it it hurts!

  16. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Sarah and the Foundation have gone through some pretty awful times over the past years but have never let those suffering down.
    Sarah has worked harder and harder to ensure the truth is known.
    To have had to go through the ACNC’s unworthy decision to revoke their status then again have to stand up and face the AAT all the while continuing to work to get the truth heard and accepted has been a period in Australia’s ‘fairness history’ that has shown truth will rise to the top, and swamp the truth deniers.
    While the Foundations status as an organisation that donations cannot be claimed against your tax has not been reinstated it does not prevent people from Donating to the hugely worthwhile cause the Foundation is working toward.
    Hopefully one day the powers that be will look at the conclusions of the AAT and realise a mistake has been made and what is now known would have been squashed under the feet of the greedy wind industry and its spruikers – if it were not for Sarah Laurie and the Foundations work to bring to the for this very serious danger to human health in todays modern world.
    And to those who have not read or at least attempted to read Chapman’s and Crichton’s masterpiece of spite they should read
    You may, like me, find it hard going to make sense of it – I still don’t know exactly know what the reason for this very long self promotional rhetoric was other than it being a last ditch stand to try and make themselves relevant – but failing.
    Then again I could be wrong and it could be a very important document that will take us into a new era of understanding of – of what I don’t know it sure isn’t an understanding, an understanding that we have been wrong all this time and Turbines are perfectly safe and cause no harm.

    • Jackie, your praise for Sarah Laurie rings true for people in Ontario, Canada, who have turned to her in their despair.

  17. Crispin Trist says:

    To Simon Chapman et al.

    Communicate this.

  18. A very useful summary – thankyou

  19. Son of a goat says:

    The truth and facts about infrasound related to wind farms tend to get an “extreme makeover” with the likes of the guru and the rent seekers.

    Indeed the AEMO under the auspices of the Lovely Audrey Seem to have under gone a makeover in projecting a glossy image in relation to running Australia on wind and a Duracell battery.

    But truth can be a hard master. A mate got an anonymous text message earlier this week stating, “We wish to inform you your application for extreme makeover has been rejected, we are beauticians not fricken magicians.”

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