Federal Health Minister: no help on wind turbine noise emissions
Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose has written a letter to an Ontario resident who was inquiring about reporting problems with noise emissions to the government under the Radiation Emitting Devices Act (REDA).
In the letter, which has been posted on a website by the Canadians for Radiation Emissions Enforcement or CFREE (not a Wind Concerns Ontario member group), the Minister repeats the claim that the Health Canada wind turbine noise and health study did not find any link between exposure to the wind turbine noise and health effects, but did find a relationship between increasing wind turbine noise and “annoyance” (which the Minister failed to identify as a health impact in itself).
She further comments:
There are no standards developed under the Act ‘that apply specifically to wind
turbines, and currently the weight of evidence does not support an association
between the noise (radiation) from wind turbines and effects on human health.
Health Canada remains committed to protecting the health and well-being of
Canadians and will continue to review any new scientific literature that
This is directly in opposition to two Ontario MPs, Ben Lobb (who was Chair of the House Standing Committee on Health) and Larry Miller, both of whom represent citizens living in areas with utility-scale wind turbines, and both of whom have received numerous complaints about the turbine noise and health problems. The MPs recently advised residents to write to both their local wind power developer, and the federal government, under the authority of the REDA.
This letter is also very confusing because, as the Minister must surely know, the Health Canada study was never designed to find a causal relationship between turbine noise and health impacts but merely to advance the research on the topic. That said, the study did find that 16.5% of people living within 1 km of wind turbines were “annoyed” in the medical sense, meaning distressed. That number climbed to 25% for people living at the 550-metre mark—the Ontario setback.
In other words, the Health Canada research clearly showed there is a problem with turbine noise.
The Minister said her department will review any new scientific research, but clearly they are not: the Australian government has chosen to accept the recommendations by the Senate Select Committee which acknowledges health problems and concerns with turbine noise, and that national acoustics standards for the noise–including low-frequency noise or infrasound–are required.
Contrary to being a world leader on this issue as Health Canada claimed in a frankly self-serving brochure designed to help the wind power industry, Canada is behind… and failing the citizens of Ontario.
Now the question is: where is the Conservative federal government on this issue?
Do they support the people of rural Ontario who are forced to sit and watch as these power plants are built in community after community, exposing thousands to the noise emissions?
Citizens will want to ask all candidates in the upcoming federal election what their policy is, what their views are, and how they plan to help.
CFREE has posted a petition on the REDA. See it here.