SA farmers warn of wind farm impacts

30 Aug, 2012 02:00 AM
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South Australian beef farmers David and Alida Mortimer.
South Australian beef farmers David and Alida Mortimer.

SOUTH Australian beef farmers David and Alida Mortimer have warned Kojonup shire residents of the potential dangers associated with wind turbines.

Mr Mortimer, an electrical engineer with the Royal Australian Navy from 1965-1988, believed under-handed persuasion tactics by wind farm companies and adverse health conditions caused by the movement and sound frequencies produced by turbines were only the tip of the iceberg when it came to potential problems.

After being approached in 1996 to host four turbines on their Millicent property, 400 kilometres south-east of Adelaide, the Mortimers signed an ‘option to lease’ document which locked them into a 25-year lease with an option of another two terms - a deal which could see their land tied up for 75 years as part of the now largest wind farm development in the southern hemisphere.

Earlier this month, the Mortimers broke a stringent confidentiality clause to warn wind farm stakeholders about the impact of option to lease documents.

The Mortimers willingly signed the document as a step in the process which eventually saw two 1.75 megawatt turbines installed 700 metres from their house nearly eight years after the project’s initial proposal.

The Mortimers profit $10,000 a year for hosting their two turbines but said they would happily return the money if it would put an end to the heart problems, tinnitus and dizzy spells they experience which Mr Mortimer attributed to the turbines.

“It’s a fact of physics that acoustic energy travels faster and further through the ground than it does through the air,” Mr Mortimer wrote in a recent submission to the South Australian Select Committee on Wind Farms.

“The energy, or infra sound, which could adversely impact physiologically on the human body is most likely to take the subterranean path.

“This is similar to the tin-can telephone most children have played with.

“The wind turbine acts like a large loud speaker in the ground and the earth as the taut piece of string.

“A house or similar structure placed in the acoustic field acts like the tin can on the receiving end and concentrates the sound within it as a pressure wave or pulse.”

Mr Mortimer said his story was only one of many but he wanted Kojonup land owners to be aware of the potential implications before signing up to host any number of wind turbines.

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READER COMMENTS

Renate
7/10/2012 8:28:29 PM, on Farm Weekly

Brave people indeed, the Mortimers from South Australia. To hear from someone that is getting money for hosting turbines, about the dangers of having them on your land, is a nice change from having any opposition to turbines stigmatised as 'sour grapes because you're not getting any money.' I'm sorry that they're suffering, and I respect their courage in speaking up, despite the confidentiality clause.

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