The findings indicate that negative health information readily available to people living in the vicinity of wind farms has the potential to create symptom expectations, providing a possible pathway for symptoms attributed to operating wind turbines. This may have wide-reaching implications. If symptom expectations are the root cause of symptom reporting, answering calls to increase minimum wind-farm set back distances is likely to do little to assuage health complaints.
But an as yet unpublished study (and therefore not peer-reviewed) just released by Simon Chapman, the Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, suggests only a tiny proportion of people living near turbines do actually complain and, when they do, the complaints coincide with campaigning from anti-wind groups.
Chapman looked at health complaints made by residents living within 5 kilometres of all 49 wind farms operating in Australia between 1993 and 2012. After reviewing media reports, public inquiries and complaints to wind companies themselves, Chapman found evidence of only 120 individuals having actually complained - representing about 1 in 272 people living near wind farms.
But significantly, Chapman found that 81 of those 120 residents were living beside just five wind farms "which have been heavily targeted by anti wind farm groups". What's more, some 82 per cent of all the complaints had occurred since 2009 when Chapman says anti-wind farm groups began to push the health scare as part of their opposition to turbines.
So there you have it.