The Waubra Foundation are commissioning independent acoustic field surveys and documenting some of the reported health impacts ourselves in order to:
- Increase our knowledge of the cumulative and peak acoustic exposures of residents and workers
- Increase our knowledge of the scope of the reported health problems and their likely and possible causes
- Better plan the necessary independent multidisciplinary research and identify the most appropriate researchers for that research, and
- Further educate residents, workers, their health practitioners, acousticians, public servants and elected representatives at local, state and federal levels of government in Australia and internationally, as well as inform other researchers working in this field.
How is the acoustic information collected, and who collects it?
Limited preliminary acoustic field surveys have been commissioned by the Waubra Foundation, and conducted by experienced acousticians. They include Mr Steven Cooper from New South Wales, and Mr Les Huson from Victoria. Mr Cooper and Mr Huson have both also been engaged by some of the affected residents in various locations, and by residents seeking independently conducted background noise monitoring prior to construction of the particular industrial facility.
Both Mr Cooper and Mr Huson have also generously performed acoustic survey work, and data analysis in a pro bono capacity, because of their concerns at the severity of the adverse impacts they are seeing on some of the most vulnerable citizens in our rural communities.
Acousticians, as engineers, have a code of ethics, which amongst other things requires that “the welfare, health and safety of the community shall at all times take precedence over sectional, professional and private interests”.
How is the human health impact information collected, and who collects it?
Information about the impacts on residents, workers and visitors to industrial wind developments and other sources of ILFN and vibration has been collected in an unstructured fashion by the Foundation’s CEO since Sarah listened to the first affected resident from Waubra, in August 2010, having been introduced by Kathy Russell.
All subsequent information has come from people contacting the Foundation, often both to seek information and to share their own experiences. Very occasionally limited extracts from their personal health journals, and medical records in the resident’s possession have also been voluntarily shared by them with the CEO.
The Foundation does not itself currently conduct health or population surveys or structured research, nor do we have a comprehensive data base, as we do not have the resources to do so. However with the permission of these people who have contacted the Foundation, we facilitate linking them up with interested independent researchers. Independent research is sometimes then conducted, with no subsequent involvement by the Waubra Foundation, and this has occurred at multiple Victorian and South Australian wind developments by Dr Bob Thorne, Professor Colin Hansen and Professor Con Doolan and their co researchers.
The Waubra Foundation has subsequently played a role in ensuring the results of that research are then shared direclty with the participants and with the local community if appropriate, with expert medical and psychological care from experienced registered local health professionals also in attendance when appropriate.
Confidentiality or “gag” clauses
We are aware that some residents whose properties have been bought by noise polluters have signed legal agreements prohibiting them from speaking publicly about their health problems, or speaking about anything related to the wind development, unless they have permission first from the noise polluter.
Slater & Gordon’s General Manager, Mr James Higgins confirmed the existence of these restrictions in the case of the wind industry in a letter to The Australian newspaper on 4th May, 2012, and stated they were “industry required”. The existence of these confidentiality clauses was also disclosed in Federal Parliament by Senator Chris Back, on 30th October, 2012.
This practice has been disclosed by residents living near industrial wind turbines, coal mines, and gas fired power stations in Australia. This regrettable practice of silencing sick people has also been confirmed with residents and health professionals in Canada and in the United States of America. In the Foundation’s opinion it has contributed to the current state of ignorance in health professionals and the general community about the emerging range of serious public health problems resulting from chronic exposure to this sound and vibration energy.
Help fund acoustic field observations
Acoustic field observations are funded by donations.
If you’d like to help the Foundation continue this important work, please download the donation form.
At present donations are not tax deductible.