Wind farms create controversy whenever and wherever they are proposed.
Some say they are the ultimate clean energy, others say that they are health hazards.
And the latest, a comprehensive review ordered by the National Health and Medical Research Council, is unlikely to take heat out of the debate.
The review found little evidence to suggest that wind farms are bad for health but says more research is needed.
The report, ‘Systematic review of the human health effects of wind farms’, says the quality and quantity of the available evidence was limited.
The systematic review, conducted by the University of Adelaide, indicated there was no consistent evidence that noise from wind turbines is associated with human health effects.
“Proximity to wind turbines or estimated SPL (sound pressure level) was associated with annoyance, and often associated with sleep disturbance and poorer quality of life,” the review said.
“Shadow flicker produced by wind turbines was found to be associated with annoyance in one small study, but health effects were not measured.
“There were no studies identified that investigated the impact on health of the EMR (Electromagnetic radiation) produced by wind turbines.”
The review looked at 2,850 potentially relevant references and the National Health and Medical Research Council also provided 506 documents obtained from public submissions or from other sources.
However, only 11 articles investigated associations between wind turbines and health.
Warwick Anderson, CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council, says existing evidence relating to wind farms and health remains small and mostly of poor quality.
He says further high quality research is needed.
The council will release a draft information paper, Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health, which will be amended when new evidence comes to light.