NHMRC Draft Information Paper: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health released for public comment

Summary media release information

24 February 2014
NHMRC Media Release
Contact for further information: 
Alexis Cooper, M: 0422 008 512, E: media@nhmrc.gov.au

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) today released a draft Information Paper regarding evidence on the potential effects of wind farms on human health.

In releasing the draft Information Paper, NHMRC’s CEO Professor Warwick Anderson invited the community to provide comments on the document and submit any additional evidence for consideration.

The draft Information Paper provides a summary of the available scientific evidence. Based on the evidence, the paper concludes that “there is no reliable or consistent evidence that wind farms directly cause adverse health effects in humans.”

Quoting the draft Information Paper, Professor Anderson said “There is some consistent but poor quality evidence that proximity to wind farms is associated with annoyance and, less consistently, with sleep disturbance and poorer quality of life. However, it is unknown whether these effects are caused by the wind turbines themselves, or by other related factors.”

According to Professor Anderson, the existing body of evidence is still small and of poor quality.

“Given that the quality of the existing evidence is poor, further research of the highest standard is warranted,” he said.

NHMRC intends to release a Targeted Call for Research in this area once public consultation has closed and contributions have been considered.

The draft Information Paper is based on the findings of an independent literature review commissioned by the NHMRC, which used rigorous, internationally recognised methods to select and analyse all available evidence. The independent review was also released today.

The independent review and draft Information Paper build on earlier work by NHMRC on this issue, honouring NHMRC’s commitment to the 2011 Senate Inquiry into the impact of wind farms.

“When Australian communities are genuinely concerned about the quality of their health, it is essential they have access to reliable advice based on the best available evidence,” Professor Anderson said.

NHMRC is seeking public comment on the draft Information Paper until Friday, 11 April 2014. Details on how to make a submission are available on the NHMRC Public Consultation website.