Ontario turbine setback A-OK with wind industry-paid physician

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

December 8


On Day 19 the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) of the White Pines wind project heard the testimony of Dr. Robert McCunney, an expert witness for developer WPD.

Robert McCunney, MD, has a Boston clinical practice and is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   Funded by the Canadian and American Wind Energy Associations, he headed teams in both 2009 and 2014 that produced status reports such as the recent “Wind Turbines and Health: A Critical Review of the Scientific Literature.”   Though not licensed to practice medicine in Ontario, Dr. McCunney has testified on behalf of the wind industry at other ERT hearings.

The Tribunal qualified Dr. McCunney as “a medical doctor specializing in occupational and environmental medicine, with the particular implications of noise exposure.”

WPD counsel James Wilson asked Dr. McCunney to comment on wind turbine sounds.  He said that noise is characterized by loudness and pitch, low frequency is associated with vibrations, and infrasound is inaudible below 107 db(A).  The last feature also occurs in the natural environment (e.g., wind and waves) and in actions of the human body such as breathing.  Turbine infrasound cannot be distinguished beyond 300m.

Dr. McCunney’s 2014 literature review, based on 162 published papers, concluded that “(1) infrasound sound near wind turbines does not exceed audibility thresholds, (2) epidemiological studies have shown associations between living near wind turbines and annoyance, (3) infrasound and low-frequency sound do not present unique health risks, and (4) annoyance seems more strongly related to individual characteristics than noise from turbines.”   Nothing Dr. McCunney has read since publication changes his opinions.

In cross-examination, APPEC counsel Eric Gillespie established that Dr. McCunney has never treated anyone complaining of turbine-related symptoms or conducted any original field research. Though he lives near a wind turbine, his home is 1500m away.

Mr. Gillespie asked Dr. McCunney to confirm the findings in several studies cited in his literature review that turbine sounds annoyed 7-18 percent of nearby residents.  But Dr. McCunney said this is similar to other environmental noise.  Moreover, he does not accept the concept of “wind turbine syndrome,” in which a number of symptoms are associated with wind turbines and disappear in their absence.

Dr. McCunney was then asked to consider the 2015 Australian Senate inquiry, which received almost 500 worldwide submissions on wind turbine noise.  He said he had not read it, but he was critical of its reliance on a range of unverified reports rather strictly published studies.  He did accept, however, the finding that the “distinction between direct and indirect effects is not helpful.”

Finally, Mr. Gillespie asked at what distance from turbines complaints would cease.  Dr. McCunney expressed confidence in Ontario’s 550m minimum setbacks.

In re-examination WPD’s Wilson asked about sleep anxiety and deprivation, which can lead to serious medical conditions.  Dr. McCunney said no study shows a causal relation between these symptoms and wind turbines.   His 2014 literature review identifies “longitudinal assessments of health pre- and post-installation” and “enhanced measurement techniques to evaluate annoyance”—but not sleep problems—among “further areas of Inquiry.”

Henri Garand, APPEC

Wynne government medical witness not a licensed physician: claims no health effects from wind turbine noise

Dr Cornelia Baines: I've read about this
Dr Cornelia Baines: I’ve read about this

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

November 24


Henri Garand, APPEC

On Day Twelve the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project heard Dr. Cornelia Baines, witness for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

After confirming the credentials and lengthy research experience of Dr. Baines, MOECC counsel Sylvia Davis asked her to respond to Dr. Hanning’s observations of bias in her witness statement.  She said that the negative phrases were taken from the papers she had referenced and her focus was on following a good scientific approach in research.  The Tribunal qualified Dr. Baines, MD, as a “physician and epidemiologist with special expertise in design, measurement, and evaluation of research studies.”

Dr.  Baines reviewed the hierarchy of research design from the lowest quality (case series and case reports) to the highest (cohort and randomized control studies).  She said that “compelling evidence” of adverse health effects would require that “complaints are specific to wind turbines,” “symptoms would be more frequent and severe than in the general population,” and a “biologically plausible mechanism” would be identified.
Then Dr. Baines commented on several well-known studies.   She cited Dr. Simon Chapman’s paper on the psychogenic causes of wind turbine complaints and explained placebo and “nocebo” effects.  The latter result when awareness of negative effects increases the likelihood of such reports.  Despite criticisms about demographics and the synthetic circumstances, Dr. Baines defended the Crichton study in which university students were exposed for ten minutes in a laboratory to both real and sham infrasound.  She also praised the Health Canada study for its design, collection of data, and analysis, noting the lack of impact on the “quality of life” of wind project residents.
Under cross-examination by APPEC counsel Eric Gillespie, Dr. Baines conceded that she knows nothing about wind turbine technology though she has read regularly about the health issues.  She also admitted she has not seen patients since the 1980s and is not licensed to practice medicine.
Gillespie asked Dr. Baines to consider the Erickson ERT decision in which the Tribunal accepted that turbines can cause serious harm when placed too close to homes, and the debate over health effects is “one of degree” and does not concern the biological mechanism.  Dr. Baines said she does not agree with the Erickson ERT, which is “a court decision, not a scientific finding.”
The ERT continues on Wednesday, November 25, at 10 a.m. in the Picton Community Centre.
Further note from the APPEC board
In our Friday, November 20 Report on the ERT it was noted that WPD is dropping its appeal of two turbines (T7 and T11) that were disallowed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).  However at the end of the hearing today WPD reversed its previous position and is now asking the ERT for an adjournment on this appeal.  James Wilson, counsel for WPD, told the ERT that he may have misspoken or mischaracterized the withdrawal of the section 139 appeal of the two turbines and that his client WPD had only intended to ask for an adjournment.
Wind Concerns Ontario editor’s note: readers will surely connect the testimony of Dr Baines here to earlier appeals in which Dr Sarah Laurie of Australia was not allowed to be termed an “expert witness” because she had let her medical licence expire, yet she is actively involved through the Waubra Foundation in helping people with health effects from wind turbine noise and vibration. Also note the mention of Simon Chapman, also Australian, whose work and opinions were thoroughly discredited by the Australian Select Senate Committee investigating the effects of wind turbines in that country; Mr Chapman was also recently forced to issue an apology for remarks made about Dr Laurie.
In Ontario, however, a formerly licensed medical professional a) qualifies as an expert witness for the government, and b) mentions the work of the discredited Mr Chapman.

Children showing health impacts from St Columban wind turbines, developer told at meeting

“We’ll take it up at our next seminar,” is the corporation’s reponse

Huron Expositor, November 23, 2015

Residents says some children are allegedly receiving nosebleeds from wind turbines

By Shaun Gregory, Huron Expositor

During a community liaison meeting in Seaforth at Huron East’s town hall, an engineer who works on several turbines in St. Columban admitted to the public that most statements made by consultants that residents will “never hear” the large fans are dishonesties.

It was a full community conference with almost every chair filled in the council chambers joined by the HEAT group, Veresen Inc., Huron East council members and a few locals. For all those who came, coffee, donuts and a fruit tray were available free of charge. The voice of the HEAT, Jeanne Melady and Gerry Ryan were front-row ready with pens and paper. The two have been present at three out of the last four Huron East council meeting. They expressed their needs to the political gang numerous times, a primary concern was that HEAT did not know who to call. Today was the day to move forward and be heard by the wind turbine company. At a previous council meeting, Huron East was optimistic and sure several questions would be answered at this function.

Dennis Mueller, a representative for the community liaison committee started the two-hour session by directing questions and complaints from members of 14 households that live near these wind turbines. These inquiries were aimed at Veresen Inc. and the senior engineer. Mueller put all these objections on a screen so the public could view these alleged accusations.

“Personally I was appalled when these reports began to come in as I knew there were health problems but had no idea to this severity,” said Mueller.

“The fact that there are also children being affected by this project, I have a huge problem with that as a parent.”

In the prepared document by Mueller, he pointed at all the specific complaints by the residents. They were presented at the meeting as property numbers from 1-14 with no specific names attached to them. Their main concerns and questions were as followed:

Property #1

“I would like to know why my bed trembles or lightly vibrates. The nights of the storm were particularly noticeable. I always sleep with my bedroom window open but can’t anymore.”

Property #2

“Noise from turbines were very loud last night (Oct.31) but have got to the point that no one will follow up. We run a fan all night to drown out the noise. As soon as my head touches the pillow I can hear the noise and feel the vibration.”

Property #3

“Our concerns are noise-night time mainly. Going to sleep we hear a constant swoosh. The instances where the weather, temperature, & wind are in a perfect combo causes them to be very loud-enough to wake you from a sleep.”

Property #4

”I have called the proponent three times now regarding turbine noise and have not been called back once. I have also called the MOECC at least three times and nothing has changed with regard to noise, nor has anyone came out to my home.”

Property #5

“On the morning of Sept 25, two kids were affected, one could not think properly and follow basic duties without constant confusion & the other woke up with a very bad headache – the turbine is the closest to the room these two children sleep in.”

Property #6

“I suffer from sleeplessness from the turbines and find them very loud. It was particularly bad September 25-27. If the turbines are loud and I can hear them from inside the house, my cat now will refuse to go outside the door. That was never a problem before.”

Property #7

“We hear them every day. We have two adults and two children living in our home. Noise affects us both during the day and at night. Shadow flicker from the blades as well as the blinking red lights at night are a problem for us. We can always hear them whether it is windy or calm.”

Property #8

“We definitely hear the turbines and they have interrupted our sleep especially during the summer months as we do not have air conditioning and could not sleep with the windows open. Both occupants of the house are experiencing sleeplessness.”

Property # 9

“It sounds like there’s a train behind our barn. We’re not able to sleep when the window is open, especially during the summer months.”

Property #10

“We are experiencing noise both day and night from the turbines, literally seven days a week. Shadow flicker, nausea, headaches & ringing of the ears are problems we have experienced. The lights are a distraction at night and make us nauseous. Obviously the noise is worse if it is windy.”

Property #11

“We have two adults and three children living in our house. Warm, windy nights seem to be the worst. We experience: sleep disturbance, high blood pressure, nosebleeds, vibration on chest during the night, shadow flicker, headaches and nausea.”

Property #12

“Depending on wind direction, we are affected most early morning (around 3 a.m.). It is loud enough to wake us up, making it very difficult to get a good night’s rest.”

Property #13

“Four to five nights a week our sleep is interrupted. We experience nausea and headaches as well. That was never a problem before.”

Property #14

“Since they began spinning we have had problems ongoing. There are a total of six people living in our home of two adults and four children.”

Ian Bonsma, is one of senior engineers for the turbines that are stationed in St. Columban. He told the public that these issues have been a common occurrence for most of the wind projects throughout the province.

“Every project has complaints, my sort of reasoning or philosophy is turbines that are going into rural areas typically don’t have background levels of 40 decibels. They often have 30 decibels. So you’re going to hear them,” explained Bonsma.

“In 2004 and 2006 there were a number of projects where the consultant said you’ll never hear them, (that’s a) lie.”

The crowd in the seats shouted out an uproar after these comments by Bonsma, the meeting became a back and forth questionnaire between the community and the ones involved with the wind turbines. The inquiries also began to shift towards the people in the crowd. Ryan noticed that Jose Menendez, St. Columban Energy LP’s vice-president was present. The devoted HEAT member turned towards Menendez and asked him why there were noise issues, because Ryan alleged that he said prior to the development of the wind turbines that they would not generate noise.

“I suggest you direct your questions at them,” responded Menendez.

“Why are you here tonight then sir,” Ryan said in a stern tone.

“I’m curious what’s happening in the community,” replied Menendez who was about four chairs away from Ryan.

David Hayles, the operations coordinator for the St. Columban Wind Project clarified to everybody in attendance that these concerns will be reviewed case by case. He said the Ministry of Environment has approved the sound levels, which can only reach a maximum of 40 decibels. If the decibel level goes above those requirements, certain steps will be implemented to either fix the problem or shut the turbines off. To date none have been shut off due to complaints. Last week a sound test was implemented and to the wind company’s knowledge, the levels complied with the legal legislation.

“I want to do my job the best I can, I can’t commit to turning turbines off, that’s way above my pay level, but if there is an issue with a turbine, it’s my job to turn them off,” said Hayles.

This meeting was meant to engage with the community about their concerns pertaining the wind turbines. Hayles said he will bring these findings to his manager’s attention at the next company seminar. The next community liaison meeting is set for the spring of 2016.

All residents in White Pines project area will be affected by noise: top acoustician testimony

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

November 20, 2015


 Paula Peel, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC)

APPEC’s health appeal continued on Day 10 with expert witness Dr. Paul Schomer testifying before the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project.  The remainder of the day was spent making adjustments to the schedule following WPD’s abrupt announcement that it was dropping an appeal of the disallowance of two turbines (T7 and T11) by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

Dr. Schomer, a former Standards Director of the Acoustical Society of America with 48 years’ experience in noise measurement, was qualified by the ERT as an expert in acoustics.  He told the Tribunal that all residents in the White Pines project area will be affected by audible and inaudible sound and a number of residents will be seriously affected.  The effects reported by people living near wind projects are similar in nature to the effects experienced by participants in a 1985 University of Toronto study on infrasound.  At lower levels and at higher levels of pure tone some participants experienced nausea and dizziness.  However, when overtones were added at higher levels, participants experienced headaches and fatigue.

Dr. Schomer considers that internationally-accepted noise standards and protocols are being flouted in Ontario.  For example, A-weighting is not supposed to be relied on when sounds have low-frequency content such as those emitted by industrial wind turbines.  Canada is one of the countries that voted for this rule.  He also calls for changes in current Ontario regulations to adjust up to 10 db(A) for wind turbine noise in rural areas.  Other suggested adjustments include up to 3 db(A) for weather conditions and 3 to 4 db(A) for locations downwind of turbines.   Dr. Schomer is highly critical of WPD’s current predicted average sound as it merely indicates that 50% of the time 50% of the residents will be exposed to sound above or below the limit.  The wind industry should be held to a higher level of accountability: db(A) limits should be met 95% of the time.

Dr. Schomer pointed to a very important figure in the Health Canada Report.  Only 1% of people are shown to be highly annoyed at 30 – 35 db(A) sound levels.  However, at 35 – 40 db(A) the number jumps to 40%.  Dr. Schomer sees this as evidence of a community response to wind turbine noise, and that what Health Canada says, what independent acoustic experts say, and what communities say should carry weight in Ontario.

Through experience Dr. Schomer has found that when community responses disagree with the physics, the physics is usually wrong.  This has been confirmed by his involvement in six studies of wind farms, including the 8-turbine Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin where three families abandoned their homes and about 60 other people reported adverse health effects.

The ERT continues next week.  Hearings on Monday and Tuesday are in Toronto.  The location of the hearing on Wednesday still needs to be confirmed.  

Doctors say enough evidence of wind farm harm to use Precautionary Principle

Telling the truth, the whole truth
Telling the truth, the whole truth

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project‏‎

November 18


Paula Peel, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC)

APPEC’s health case proceeded​ on Day 8 with two experts providing evidence to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project: Dr. Alun Evans and Dr. Robert McMurtry.
Dr. Evans, Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has studied cardiovascular disease for 30 years.  Dr. Evans told the Tribunal that his involvement in wind turbines is tangential to his interest in noise, sleep disturbance, and cardiovascular disease.  But he has also met many people severely impacted by wind turbine noise.
Citing published studies, Dr. Evans explained that the major adverse health effects of wind turbines seem to be due to sleep disturbance and sleep deprivation, mainly from loud noise and low-frequency noise (LFN), particularly infrasound.  Dr. Evans finds the “impulsive, intrusive and incessant nature” of wind turbine noise a particularly troublesome feature that is highly discernible in rural areas.  LFN, which is inaudible, is propagated over long distances and penetrates buildings where it can be amplified by insulation and closed windows.  Dr. Evans noted that sleep deprivation is associated with increased likelihood of developing a range of chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, and heart failure.  His recent systematic literature review  found 18 published studies establishing an association between wind turbine noise and human distress.
While agreeing with James Wilson, counsel for WPD, that “human distress” is not a medical term Dr. Evans said that human distress needs to be taken seriously nonetheless.  He also agreed with Wilson that the results of observational studies do not constitute “proof”.   But what is important about these studies is the strength of the associations, which are certainly enough to point to the Precautionary Principle. 
Robert McMurtry, MD and Emeritus Professor of Surgery at University of Western Ontario, has studied adverse health effects from industrial wind turbines since 2008.  His public engagement includes   a 2009 Deputation to the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on the proposed Green Energy and Green Economy Act; expert witness testimony at the 2011 ERT on the Kent Breeze project; 2011 publication of “Toward a Case Definition of Adverse Health Effects in the Environs of Industrial Wind Turbines”; 2014 publication (with Carmen Krogh) in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine of “Diagnostic criteria for adverse health effects in the environs of wind turbines”; 2014 invited commentary by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on the Health Canada Study; 2015 literature review, “Do wind turbines cause adverse health effects?” presented to the Acoustical Society of America; and 2015 Response to “Invitation to Submit” from the Senate of Australia.
When asked by Wilson to confirm statements in the Health Canada Study Dr. McMurtry clarified that he does not accept the findings because of many problems with study design and participation.  Among these are the principal investigator’s ongoing work for the wind industry and evidence of communications between Health Canada and the industry, including disclosure of the study prior to public release.
In contrast, Dr. McMurtry cited Dr. Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater study showing there is an indirect pathway for adverse health effects.  Dr. Cooper visited people’s homes and found that emissions from wind turbines could be detected without hearing them.
Dr. McMurtry stressed the fact that no wind farm monitoring has even been done in Ontario.  “It would be possible, as cited since 2006,” he said, “to reduce or eliminate the boundless discourse of dueling experts by conducting appropriate third-party research.”  The MOECC regulations are based upon out-of-date standards that fail to evaluate LFN and infrasound.
Both of today’s health experts emphasized that White Pines would harm a significant number of people. Eric Gillespie noted the importance of APPEC’s witnesses. He told the Tribunal that this is the first time the link has been established at an ERT hearing between wind turbine noise and those who are afflicted. 

Wind power developer tries to disqualify McMurtry evidence

Former University Dean of Medicine, member of the Order of Canada, and published researcher owns property in Prince Edward County, WPD counsel says, alleging conflict of interest

WPD sought to disqualify respected physician Dr Robert McMurtry. What are they worried about?
WPD sought to disqualify respected physician Dr Robert McMurtry. What are they worried about?
Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on the White Pines Wind Project

November 17, 2015

Day Seven of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) began expert witness testimony on the health effects of the White Pines wind project.

The first order of business, however, was the Tribunal’s decision on the two environmental reply witnesses proposed by appellant APPEC.  Chair Marcia Valiante ​ruled the witness statements partially admissible subject to objections over “bolstering” and “originality” of evidence.

Then the hearing turned to the first of the health experts called by APPEC.  Christopher Hanning, MD, qualified as “a physician with expertise in sleep medicine and physiology,” said wind turbines are “inherently noisy and cause sleep loss” because the characteristics of amplitude modulation and low-frequency sound make them much more annoying than aircraft, railways, and road traffic.  Citing anecdotal and epidemiological studies, he explained that 15 percent of the population is sensitive to noise and “people are caused serious harm with current minimum setbacks.”  He argued that the level of proof which dissenting experts require is inappropriate and that the Precautionary Principle should be used to protect public health.  If adverse effects occur up to 1.5 km, this is incontrovertible evidence that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) setback is inadequate.

After completing the examination in chief, Eric Gillespie, APPEC’s counsel, asked how the Tribunal would assess 118 sources in a 69-page witness statement since Dr. Hanning had been able to comment on only a few due to the Tribunal’s tight timelines.

​Chair Valiante replied that the Tribunal had established rules based on standard practice and Gillespie would have to appeal these in a judicial review.

In cross-examination Sylvia Davis, MOECC counsel, questioned the relevance and credibility of Dr. Hanning’s sources, in which statements by wind project residents are taken at “face value.”  Dr. Hanning clarified that in the practice of medicine people’s statements are generally accepted but followed by medical histories and clinical tests.  He asserted that the studies cumulatively show the existence of a health problem as well as the need for research.

​James Wilson, WPD counsel, questioned Dr. Hanning’s qualification to testify as he is not an acoustician.  Dr. Hanning told the ERT that having spent his entire professional life studying sleep it is apparent to him that any noise causing an adverse health effect constitutes serious harm to human health.  He said he relies on the World Health Organization definition of annoyance.  If people are annoyed to the extent they are forced to leave their homes or are too tired to drive, the annoyance is serious harm.

The second health expert called by APPEC was Dr. Robert McMurtry, whom Gillespie sought to qualify as a physician and surgeon with expertise in the delivery of health care, heath care policies and health policies.  Gillespie noted that Dr. McMurtry had been so qualified at previous ERTs, and he pointed to a long and distinguished career in medicine, invited testimony this year before the Australian Senate, and peer-reviewed publication in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine on health effects in the environs of wind turbines.

But Wilson objected to the qualification of Dr. McMurtry.  He submitted that as a homeowner in the White Pines project area Dr. McMurtry was not an independent witness, had a personal financial interest, and should not be permitted to give opinion evidence. Gillespie responded that at this time Dr. McMurtry has no financial interest in anything.  He noted further that Dr. McMurtry’s opinion has been relevant at other hearings and is important for the Tribunal to hear.

The Tribunal agreed to qualify Dr. McMurtry as an Expert Witness and decided that due to the lengthy process of qualification his testimony would be given the next day.

The ERT resumes Wednesday, November 18, 10 a.m. at the Essroc Centre, Wellington.

-Henri Garand and Paula Peel, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County

Grey Highlands to fund wind farm noise study

The Flesherton, November 9, 2015

Wind Turbine Sounds Study

by Don Crosby

Grey Highlands council was about to lend $120,000 to a special interest group. Then it decided instead to approve $75,000 for a municipal study on health effects of wind turbine sounds.

Municipality of Grey Highlands council had already agreed to lend money, that it would borrow from a bank on behalf of the group, to the Grey Highlands Wind Concerns, an anti-wind turbine citizen’s group.

However, strong public objection against the municipal loan prompted council to apply some terms that the group was concerned about meeting. The group has now arranged to borrow the needed money from a private lender, Flesherton businessman Kevin O’Brien.

Stewart Halliday, deputy-mayor, announced at the November 2 council meeting that Grey Highlands Wind Concerns withdrew its request that the municipality lend it $120,000 to pay off expenses it had incurred in its failed appeal of two wind projects to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). On August 13, the ERT dismissed the appeal against Zero Emission People (ZEP) project – a five wind turbine project near McIntyre – and on October 16, the tribunal dismissed the appeal against Grey Highlands Clean Energy, a nine wind turbine project planned for the Brewster Lake area.

But, at the same November municipal council meeting, councilors voted to spend up to $75,000 to gather acoustical and infrasound information on a total of five sites within the ZEP project and the Grey Highlands Clean Energy. The two projects will have a combined total of 14 wind turbines.

Voting in favour of spending the $75,000 were Mayor McQueen, Deputy-mayor Halliday and Councilors Silverton and Desai. Councilors Terry Mokriy, Cathy Little and Peggy Harris voted against the motion.

Halliday, who crafted the motion calling for the study, says he wants the municipality to use the information gathered in the study to develop a bylaw protecting residents from the effects of unregulated infrasound waves.

The study would be conducted around the clock over a minimum seven days period on five homes located close to proposed wind turbine sites within the two projects prior to construction and then again once the projects are working.

Councilor Little says the proposed study is beyond the capacity of the municipality. “The $75,000 is just the initial cost to get the baseline data; there will be further studies to be conducted once the project is completed, there will be future costs. In addition the study would have to be peer reviewed and that would be an additional cost,” she says.

“If you’re committing to the $75,000 you must know you are committing to more than that because if you don’t it’s a waste of the $75,000,” she says.

Councilor Mokriy, who also voted against the expense, questioned the effectiveness of a small municipality spending $75,000 on a study.

Money for the Grey Highlands baseline study will come from the building services department. It is proposed that the money will be repaid from the future property tax revenues received from the industrial wind installations yet to be constructed.

A Health Canada study has found no evidence to support a link between exposure to wind-turbine noise and ill health effects reported by people living near the towering structures.

The Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study, conducted over a four-month period in 2013, involved more than 1,200 residents in southwestern Ontario and PEI whose homes were located at various distances from almost 400 of the electricity-generating structures in 18 wind-turbine developments.

The same study did find a relationship between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and residents’ annoyance related to that noise, as well as to vibration, shadow flicker from the rotating blades, and aircraft warning lights atop the towers.

According to a story in Canadian Lawyer magazine from September, 2015, “There have been nearly 30 hearings before the Environmental Review Tribunal, seeking to stop so-called wind farms, since the enactment of the Green Energy Act in Ontario in 2009. Each time, local residents, usually in rural areas, have been unsuccessful in meeting the legal test to revoke or change the terms of a permit issued by the province for a wind energy project.”


WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO EDITOR’S NOTE: the statements here on the Health Canada study are not accurate. The study was never designed to find a causal link between wind turbine noise and health impacts (which begs the question: what was the $2.1 million study for? to back up the wind industry’s claims their product is safe?), but it did find a link between the turbine noise and vibration and “annoyance” which when used as a medical term denotes stress or distress—Health Canada found that 16.5% of the respondents living less than 1 km from a turbine were stressed, and that number rose to 25% for people living at 550 metres, the distance Ontario claims is a safe setback.

Irish medical study links wind farm noise to poor health: “environmental insomnia”

Residents against wind farms protest in Kilkenny

Irish citizens protest in Dublin (Source: Photocall)

Irish Daily Mail, October 16, 2015

Leah McDonald
Irish scientists link them to cancer, stroke and heart attacks – wind turbines ‘too near family homes’

WIND farms can contribute to people getting diseases such as cancer and heart attacks, two leading Irish health experts have warned.

They say that noises emitting from turbines lead to sleep deprivation that can cause cancer and heart disease, along with a number of other illnesses.

Professor Graham Roberts, head of the Department of Endocrinology at University Hospital, Waterford, and Professor Alun Evans, an expert in public health at Queen’s University, Belfast, met Alan Kelly yesterday to warn the Environment Minister that the current guidelines in Ireland are a cause for alarm.

The rules allow turbines and power lines as close as 500 metres to a family home, while international standards demand they should be at least 2km away.

Prof Evans, recently wrote a report pointing to ‘serious adverse health effects associated with noise pollution generated by wind turbines’. The risks were due to sleep disturbance and deprivation with loud noise being one of the main causes.

He pointed out that sleep deprivation is associated with memory impairment in children and disturbed cognitive function in adults.

He told the Irish Daily Mail yesterday that distances between homes and turbines should be increased.

He said: ‘The bad effects of low frequency noise has been known for at least 40 years, the thing is 500 metres does not protect people. It is insufficient.’ He warned that there is evidence that the ‘infrasonic signatures’ that cause the damage can be picked up from 50 miles way, adding: ‘It is a serious problem. It doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Something like a quarter of people are more susceptible.’

Prof Evans explained: ‘It is a problem, the big thing being noise and sleep deprivation. Once you deprive people of sleep you make them more liable to become overweight and you delay their learning because while we sleep we reinforce memory.

‘Depriving people of sleep is not a good idea, overweight children become obese adults and obese adults are far more likely to [develop] a whole range of diseases particularly cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.’ He added that the noise doesn’t have to have a direct effect to cause a problem. ‘It can be indirect but it is still very important,’ he said. ‘And you can prevent diseases by preventing the more distant causes.’

And in his recent report, Dr Evans said that there had been no proper cost-benefit analysis in Ireland before the widespread introduction of wind power.

Both he and Dr Roberts believe there are fundamental technical errors in reports on current wind farm and power-line projects here.

They are concerned over the consultation process with the public. Some parents of autistic children have particular fears about the effects turbines and high-voltage pylons have on their quality of life.

John Callaghan has objected to wind farms in Co. Meath, which he fears will affect the environment and health of his autistic son.

The engineer, who has studied renewable energy at postgraduate level, said his seven-year-old son is autistic and very sensitive to noise and says he has ‘grave concerns’ about the impact of the proposed wind farm on his son, himself, his family and the local area, including wildlife, heritage and the cultural landscape.

The meeting between the professors and the minister was organised by community campaigner David Reid of the Westmeath Alliance. Mr Reid said there are significant concerns about noise pollution for people living close to wind turbines. He said the World Health Organisation refers to this as ‘environmental insomnia’, if the noise is above a certain threshold.
Irish Daily Mail

Dutton-Dunwich seeks noise protection bylaw

St. Thomas Times-Journal, October 19

Dutton/Dunwich council is vetting bylaws to regulate wind turbines in the municipality

Several bylaws drafted by Dutton/Dunwich to counter the anticipated impact of industrial wind turbines have been referred to legal counsel for review before final adoption.

Council voted Wednesday for two readings only on bylaws designed to limit light flicker and noise generated by turbines.

One bylaw seeks to regulate noise from industrial wind turbines. The other is aimed at controlling shadow light flicker from a turbine.

The preamble to the bylaw defines it as: “Being a bylaw to prohibit shadow flicker from any source including, but not limited to, industrial wind turbines …”

Coun. Dan McKillop said the municipality should get clarification on certain points before it proceeds with final adoption and implementation of the bylaws.

McKillop suggested it would be better to spend the time having the bylaws reviewed to make sure Dutton/Dunwich is in sound legal position before they are passed into law.

First and second reading of the bylaws was passed unanimously on recorded votes for each.

One other building bylaw regulating permits and fees for construction of buildings, etc, specifically stated issuance of permits also applied to industrial wind turbines. That clause should be referred to legal counsel for review, McKillop pointed out.

Both light flicker and noise have been targetted as potential byproducts of industrial wind turbine operation.

Invenergy has aplied to erect wind turbines in Dutton/Duwnich and is awaiting approval.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act limits what steps municipalities can take to control wind turbines.

Australia’s first Wind Commissioner has ties to renewables industry

Australia's wind industry says appointing a commissioner to ensure complaints are dealt with is a waste of time
Australia’s wind industry says appointing a commissioner to ensure complaints are dealt with is a waste of time

The Guardian, October 9, 2015

The Turnbull government has appointed an academic and company director with strong ties to climate and renewables research as its new “wind commissioner”, in a move the clean energy industry says should help return the wind energy debate to “sensible”.

Andrew Dyer serves on the boards of Climateworks Australia and the Monash University sustainability unit. The government says his primary role will be to “refer complaints about windfarms to relevant state authorities” – which are already responsible for dealing with them.

The wind commissioner was promised by the former prime minister Tony Abbott in response to a Coalition and crossbench-dominated Senate committee report into the alleged health effects of windfarms. The senators demanded moves against wind energy in return for their essential votes on changes to the renewable energy target, which went beyond the deal the government had struck with Labor.

The Clean Energy Council’s chief executive, Kane Thornton, said he hoped Dyer’s appointment – and appointments to a new scientific committee on wind – would “return a more sensible tone to the debate, which had entered some strange territory during the recent Senate inquiry into windfarms.

“We expect that these new appointments will help to blow away some of the conspiracy theories about windfarms that have been championed by a small number of federal senators over the last few years.”

Dyer serves on multiple boards including Climateworks – a body that aims to facilitate substantial reductions in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years – and the Monash University sustainability institute. The institute brings together academics from all disciplines to tackle “climate change and sustainability, and their intrinsic multiple crises”, as well as the question of how the Australian economy can become carbon neutral.

Dyer will sit in Hunt’s federal environment department. His role does not appear to involve determining the veracity of any complaints but rather passing them on to the state authorities and collating scientific information.

When Abbott pledged to appoint a wind commissioner, he told the radio announcer Alan Jones he found windfarms visually awful, agreed that they might have “potential health impacts” and said the deal on the renewable energy target was designed to reduce their numbers as much as the current Senate would allow.

“What we did recently in the Senate was to reduce, Alan, capital R-E-D-U-C-E, the number of these things that we are going to get in the future … I frankly would have liked to have reduced the number a lot more but we got the best deal we could out of the Senate and if we hadn’t had a deal, Alan, we would have been stuck with even more of these things …

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s chief executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said it was “sad to see the federal government continuing to contribute uncertainty to Australia’s burgeoning clean energy industry.

“There have been no less than eight studies conducted at the federal level in the last five years into wind energy and every single one has found no evidence of wind farms making people sick.”


In other news, the government also appointed the first independent science committee:

The government has also appointed an independent scientific committee to conduct research into potential medical impacts of turbines which will be headed by acoustician and RMIT Adjunct Professor Jon Davy. The other members are:

Associate Professor Simon Carlile, Head of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, School of Medical Science, University of Sydney and Senior Director of Research at the Starkey Hearing Research Centre, University of California Berkeley, USA.

Clinical Professor David Hillman, Department of Pulmonary Physiology and Sleep Medicine at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Perth, WA.

Dr Kym Burgemeister, Acoustics Associate Principal, Arup.