Senator wants inquiry into 'unhealthy' turbines

A MEETING with Cape Bridgewater residents has spurred Family First leader Senator Steve Fielding to call for a Senate inquiry into the health effects of living near wind farms.

The Melbourne-based politician yesterday said he had met more than 25 people from the Portland district coastal area and Waubra near Ballarat who told him wind farms caused major health problems for those living near turbines.

"There is an obvious cluster of health issues ranging from sleep disturbances, headaches and problems with concentration and memory," he said.

"It makes no sense the National Health and Medical Research Council can release a report claiming there is no evidence linking health issues and wind farms without interviewing anyone living near the turbines.

"I've heard about a local farmer who has moved out of his home because of the adverse health effects he and his family have been suffering from the windfarms."

A total of 29 turbines were commissioned at Cape Bridgewater in 2008 after the planning minister went against recommendations of a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and a government-appointed panel.

Senator Fielding's office would not reveal the names of Cape Bridgewater residents who told him of their complaints.

"They were a mixture of medium and long-term residents," a spokesman said.

"As they live in a small community they do not want to be identified."

Waubra has 128 turbines completed last year.

Senator Fielding said given the mounting physical evidence from people living near wind farms parliament should investigate.

"I think it's only fair that if a cluster of symptoms arise in a local population at approximately the same time we owe it to the people to take a closer look," the senator said.

"We all want to live in a clean environment, but we need to make sure it's not at the cost of the local population who have to live near wind farms.

"It may be the case that we need to set out guidelines as to how close wind farms can be built to someone's home, but I wouldn't want to pre-empt any Senate inquiry."