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Steven Cooper's report on Cape Bridgewater wind farm, Feb. 2015

Acoustician Steven Cooper produced a report in February 2015 concerning a wind farm at Cape Bridgewater in south-western Victoria, Australia. The report concerned six self-selected subjects and the impact a nearby wind farm might be having on them. Many other people who lived nearby and had not complained of health impacts from the wind farm were not involved in the study.

While Cooper stated in his report, p 218:

"This study did not include any testing in relation to sleep disturbance or health effects"
and on ABC TV's Media Watch Cooper said:
"No, it's not correct... You can't say that noise affects health from this study"
the report has been greedily grasped by several anti-wind power people in Australia who have claimed that it proves that wind turbines cause health problems.

Written 2015/02/26, modified 2015/04/28
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David Clarke) – ©
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I would not normally devote a page to what deserves to be an obscure technical report, but the amount of misleading attention it has received justified a dedicated page.


In spite of the above statements by Cooper, Graham Lloyd in The Australian, the anonymous author of Stop These Things, the self-styled 'Waubra Foundation' and radio shock jock Alan Jones have all tried to link wind turbines to ill health based on Cooper's report.

 
Wind turbines at Cape Bridgewater
Cape Bridgewater
I visited Cape Bridgewater in March 2008
What the whole circus – or perhaps 'feeding frenzy' is more appropriate – shows is the desperation of the anti-wind power people to have some evidence, no matter how tenuous, to link wind turbines with ill-health when all the credible research shows that wind turbines harm no-one's health.

To a layman like me Cooper's report seems highly technical but also inconsequential; it is very hard to see exactly what he believes his research has demonstrated. If I was asked to characterise it with one word I would probably choose 'vague'. (It needs to be mentioned that Mr Cooper has a long history of trying to link wind turbines with ill-health.)

Before and after Cooper's study the fact is that no one has identified a credible mechanism by which wind turbines could make people ill.

Cooper wrote about 'sensations' perceived by the subjects, but he doesn't link these sensations to any particular sort of sound, infrasound or anything else coming from the turbines.

Of particular interest, it seems that about half of the 'sensations' were reported when the wind turbines were not working.

For more on Cooper's report I refer readers to a piece written by Jacqui Hoepner and Will J Grant and published in The Conversation on 2015/01/22. It was titled "Wind turbine studies: how to sort the good, the bad, and the ugly".

Claims made by Graham Lloyd regarding Cooper's report were deconstructed on Media Watch, 2015/02/16.

The lack of specificity in Cooper's connecting of whatever was coming from the wind turbines to the subject's sensations rather brought to mind a satirical page I wrote some time ago: Diabolical wind turbine rays.



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