There has been no scientific backing to the claim that wind turbines cause ill health to people living nearby, concludes a study carried out in Australia.
The National Health and Medical Research Council assessed the common complaints levelled at the wind-powered energy sector, chiefly that its turbines also generate "infrasound" that can make wind farm neighbours feel ill.
Advertisement"While the range of effects such as annoyance, anxiety, hearing loss and interference with sleep, speech and learning have been reported anecdotally, there is no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects," News.com.au quoted the council as saying.
The council said a recent US study into wind turbines and infrasound sound that was "generally inaudible to the human ear", found no evidence that it could impact on the physical health of those living nearby.
This was backed by a study focused on three UK-based wind farms, it said, while the World Health Organisation also took the view that there was no evidence of a health impact.
The council said there was a mental impact on those who "perceived infrasound" and this was "annoyance".
It also assessed the total noise output of a ten-turbine wind farm as 35 to 45 decibels when a person stood 350 metres away.
This was about the same level as standing in a "quiet bedroom" and well below the 60 decibels for "noise in a busy office".
The council said there was a similar lack of evidence to support complaints that "electromagnetic radiation, shadow flicker and blade glint" from wind turbines could impact on health.
The Clean Energy Council, peak body for the nation's renewable energy generators, welcomed the statement.
"There have been claims over the last couple of years from opponents of wind farms that noise and other factors associated with wind turbines can make people sick," the council's policy director Russell Marsh stated.
He said more than 100,000 wind turbines had been installed across 80 countries in the past 30 years, and yet there remained "no credible evidence that wind turbines have a direct effect on people's health".