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Wind power group slams health review

The Irish wind energy lobby has derided a Department of Health review which gave credence to ‘wind turbine syndrome’, describing the review as "extremely limited and incomplete".

In the literature review, deputy chief medical officer, Dr Colette Bonner, concluded wind turbines are not a threat to public health, but that "there is a consistent cluster of symptoms related to wind turbine syndrome which occurs in a number of people in the vicinity of industrial wind turbines".

She said people at risk of the syndrome "should be treated appropriately and sensitively".

Experts worldwide differ on whether "wind turbine syndrome" really exists or whether it is a psychological response to unhappiness caused by not wanting to live near a windfarm.

The Irish Wind Energy Association’s chief operating officer, Caitriona Diviney, criticised the comments and said the report "focused primarily on Australian information predating 2009".

"A number of comprehensive studies carried out internationally in recent years have clearly concluded that wind turbines are not harmful to humans and we would encourage all parties with interest in the issue, including the Department of Health and the Department of the Environment, to study this data."

In her review, Dr Bonner had said "there are specific risk factors for this syndrome and people with these risk factors experience symptoms".

Last week, when asked what the specific risk factors for this syndrome were, the office of the deputy chief medical officer did not want to further comment.

The Department of Health has said the deputy CMO’s comments were "a general overview of the literature in this area".