Western University researchers calling on governments and wind farm developers to avoid feeding war of words 86
By John Miner, The London Free Press
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 8:02:11 EDT PM
In a study published in the journal Environment and Planning, the Western geography department researchers found people who have raised health concerns and other objections to wind turbines are denigrated, dismissed and ostracized by supporters of the developments in their communities.
They also endure shots by senior politicians, such as former premier Dalton McGuinty, who dismissed health concerns as “unreal.”
The treatment only makes the situation worse for individuals with concerns, said associate geography professor Jamie Baxter, one of the study’s authors.
“If you get right down to the micro level of the community, life is not good for these people,” Baxter said Wednesday.
It was in face-to-face interviews researchers heard supporters of the turbines making light of the problems of those opposed, with comments such as “A lot of people live to be annoyed” and “Well, you know, I guess if you stood here long enough you’d get dizzy looking at them . . . watching those blades go around.”
Health concerns reported by opponents included pain, dizziness, sleep deprivation and loss of balance.
The study found the majority of people in both communities supported the existing wind farm projects within the communities — 80% in Port Burwell and a statistically significant lower 63% in nearby Clear Creek.
But the researchers said the support was more “pragmatic” than “enthusiastic.” Most in favour said it was simply a “better alternative” than other energy choices. Those opposed were quite emotional, expressing anger, disappointment and frustration. …
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