Ambrose, S. Letter to Prof Warwick Anderson, CEO, NHMRC

 S.E. Ambrose & Associates 
15 Great Falls Road, Windham, ME 04062

Acoustics, Environmental Sound & Industrial

February 14, 2015

Mr. Warwick Anderson, Chief Executive
Australia National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Ref: Acoustic Testing Program, Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm,

Dear Mr. Anderson and Distinguished Members:

I am writing to support the recommendation to fund universities and acoustic experts to conduct high-quality researchfor the possibilities of [adverse] health effects caused by wind turbines. This is a welcomed addition for the limited number of acoustic professionals investigating multiple factors contributing to these complex human phenomena involving public health and wind turbine emissions.

Australia is fortunate to have an acoustic expert; Steven Cooper, AAS & INCE, committed to public wellbeing by adhering to Code of Ethics requirements for his profession.

  • The welfare, health and safety of the community shall at all times take precedence over sectional, professional and private interests.
    • Conform to acceptable professional standard and procedures, and not act in any manner that may knowingly jeopardise the public welfare, health, or safety.
    • Endeavour to promote the well-being of the community, and, if over-ruled in their judgement on this, inform their clients or employers of the possible consequences.
    • Contribute to public discussion on matters within their competence when by so doing the well- being of the community can be advanced.

NHMRC may have devalued the integrity of their commitment by saying; possibility of health effects, open scientific question, no scientific evidenceand prove a negative. NHMRCs National Statement of Ethical Conduct provides clear guidance for conducting research.

  • Section 1: Values and Principals of Ethical Conduct, (pg. 9, col. 2, para. 2) states, Research merit and integrity are discussed first. Unless proposed research has merit, and the researchers who are to carry out the research have integrity, the involvement of human participants in the research cannot be ethically justifiable.
  • Guidelines, Research Merit and Guidelines,
    • Section1.2 (pg. 10) states, Where prior peer review has judged that a project has research merit, the question of its research merit is no longer subject to the judgment of those ethically reviewing the research.
    • Research that is conducted with integrity is carried out by researchers with a commitment to:
    • (a) searching for knowledge and understanding; (b) following recognised principles of research conduct; (c) conducting research honestly; and (d) disseminating and communicating results, whether favourable or unfavourable, in ways that permit scrutiny and contribute to public knowledge and understanding.

We all can agree that low-frequency and infrasound research is important, “… it is what people who are concerned about health impacts focus on”. Yet, “It had not been done particularly well so far”, conflicts with Section 1 for peer-reviewed studies. Followed by, “Research also had to look at the particular social environment and mental circumstances outside of the noise issue and the wider environment.” Outside the agreed-to scope of work for the rigorously performed Cape Bridgewater study peer-review by Dr. Paul Schomer; Standards Director, Acoustical Society of America.

The NHMRC may have been premature with the clean bill of healthstatement to the wind industry. I look forward to reading NHMRCs contributions. Thank you for your time and positive consideration.

Respectfully submitted, 

Stephen E. Ambrose, ASA, INCE, Board Certified
Principal Consultant

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