Wind Turbines (Waubra) Force Glenbrae Family Out of Home

Brendan Gullifer
The Courier, November 11 2010

Glenbrae farming couple Carl and Sam Stepnell walked away from their nine-year-old home last week, claiming turbines near their property were making them sick.

Mr Stepnell, 39, said the family had bought a second home in Ballarat, and now return to the property during the day to run the family farm.

“Our parents are in their seventies and live at the other end of the place,” Mr Stepnell said yesterday.” For Dad to pull over at the shed, come over here and have a cuppa… and his grand kids aren’t here. The heart and soul has gone out of our home, which was us and our kids.”

Mrs Stepnell, 37, said she began to suffer symptoms immediately after turbines were turned on near her house 14 months ago.

“I’ve never suffered anything like it before,” she said. “Instant pressure in the ears and in the head, inability to sleep. The trouble is that it is not like a broken arm or leg. You can’t see it. Some nights the noise was unbearable. You cannot relax. You can’t get to sleep.”

Mr Stepnell said he suffered symptoms more slowly than his wife, but after eight months he was regularly experiencing heart palpitations, “weird sensations. “It just didn’t feel right,” he said.

The couple built their home nine years ago on the family farm. They said they conferred with their doctor but felt there was no other option but to move out.

Mr Stepnell said all symptoms had immediately abated since they stopped sleeping at their Lobbs Road home. He said they had declined to have wind turbines on their property when the wind farm was being planned because they were aware of alleged health problems.

The Waubra Wind Farm comprises 128 wind turbines, about 35kms north west of Ballarat.

Earlier this year the federal government’s National Health and Medical Research Council found no published scientific evidence linking wind turbines with illness.

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