NHMRC – Response To Mrs Mary Morris re Targeted Call For Research, 17th March, 2014

Ms Samantha Robertson of the NHMRC responds to Mrs. Morris’s letter to Senator Simon Birmingham.
17 March, 2014

Dear Ms Morris

I refer to your correspondence of 18 February 2014 to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, regarding the potential health effects of wind farms. This matter falls under the portfolio of the Minister for Health, the Hon Peter Dutton MP. Minister Dutton has asked me to respond to you on his behalf.

On 24 February 2014, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released a draft Information Paper: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health for public consultation. At the same time an independent review of existing scientific literature on the potential health effects of wind farms was released as a background document. The systematic review was overseen by the NHMRC’s Wind Farms and Human Health Reference Group and considered various exposures from wind turbines that may impact on human health, including noise, shadow flicker and electromagnetic radiation. The review followed a rigorous and transparent process for identifying all the available scientific literature and assessing the quality, strength and relevance of the evidence. A copy of the systematic review can be found at http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/eh54 .

The draft Information Paper provides a summary of the evidence on whether wind farms cause health effects in humans and explains how the NHMRC developed its summary based on the findings of the independent review. Copies of the draft Information Paper, as well as information on the process for making a submission and the type of material that will be considered by the NHMRC, can be obtained from the NHMRC public consultation website at http://consultations.nhmrc.gov.au/publicconsultations/windfarms . I welcome your submission to the NHMRC during the public consultation process, due to close on 11 April 2014.

NHMRC’s independent review identified that the existing body of evidence on the potential human health effects of wind farms is small and of poor quality, and further research of the highest standard is warranted. NHMRC intends to release a Targeted Call for Research (TCR) in this area once public consultation on the draft Information Paper has closed and contributions have been considered. This TCR will form part of the research program into the possible health effects of wind farms, outlined in the Coalition’s Policy for Resources and Energy (2013). NHMRC is working with the relevant Ministers and Government departments to help determine the best mechanisms for fulfilling these commitments.

Progress of the NHMRC’s work on wind farms and human health will continue to be updated on our website at: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/wind-farms-and-human-health .

I hope this information has been of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely,
Samantha Robertson
Executive Director
Research Translation Portfolio 1

Download the NHMRC letter to Mrs Mary Morris→