Ontario turbine noise regulations not adequate: WCO to Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Turbines at Port Alma: noise regulations not adequate, protocols not providing a complete picture, Wind Concerns says
Turbines at Port Alma: noise regulations not adequate, protocols not providing a complete picture, Wind Concerns says

February 5, 2016 —
Ontario’s current noise regulations are not thorough enough to protect the health of citizens, and proposed new regulations will be worse, Wind Concerns Ontario has informed Ontario’s new Environmental Commissioner (ECO) in a letter.
“The present regulation is built on the World Health Organization’s night time noise limit for road, rail and airport noise of 40 dB(A). The noise standard generated the 550 metre setback used by Ontario.  The effectiveness of that standard to wind turbines has always been questioned, but the learning from the impact of existing projects in Ontario on residents that are living among the turbines suggests that the current setbacks are not sufficient to prevent serious health issues,” president Jane Wilson wrote.
“We understand that the MOECC has received over 2,700 complaints about wind turbine noise [over a five-year period] but even with a Freedom of Information request, we have not been able to get even summary details on these complaints.
“No information is available on the follow-up that the MOECC has undertaken on these complaints or steps taken to address these real concerns.
“In most organizations, that level of negative feedback on a program would trigger a serious review of the policy that is triggering them,” Wind Concerns asserted.
While new regulations have been proposed there is no mention of infrasound or inaudible noise which the newer more powerful turbines now being built and proposed around Ontario produce, WCO said in the letter.
“The rating of wind turbines being installed in Ontario has increased considerably since the Ontario standards were established with no change in the regulations to ensure the protection of affected residents,” WCO said. “With the newer 3+-megawatt (MW) wind turbines involved in the most recent projects, reports coming to us indicate that health issues are surfacing sooner and the symptoms are more severe. ”
Recent research and reports, including one by the Canadian Council of Academies, indicates that use of the A-weighted measurement for noise does not provide a complete picture of wind turbine noise emissions. The letter cites the Cape Bridgewater study by Steven Cooper of Australia, and testimony by Dr. Paul Schomer at the appeal of the White Pines project, and states, this is further proof that the Ontario regulations are inadequate.
While the current view is that wind power projects may be beneficial to the environment, the fact is that due to the intermittent nature of wind power generation, more power generation from fossil-fuel sources is required, which may result in more greenhouse gas emissions, Wind Concerns Ontario said, referring to a report from the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.
“Addressing these concerns should be an urgent priority,” the letter concluded.
To see the full letter, click here: letterforenvironmentcommissionerfinal

What's your reaction?


  • Mike Jankowski
    Posted February 5, 2016 8:55 am 0Likes

    There is much more this letter could say, but for now, understandably cannot. Thank you for sending this on behalf of the protection of people.
    The MoE&CC Standard Branch states “the ministry continues to monitor the emerging scientific and policy developments around the world regarding direct environmental and health related impacts from wind turbines. As new information comes to light, we will review and amend our requirements as appropriate.”.
    They said this a year ago. If we are reporting our issues to an entity which has only the capability to monitor other entity’s work – we are talking to the wrong entity.

  • Barbara
    Posted February 5, 2016 11:58 am 0Likes

    If people have kept logs of their complaints to the MOE and the companies with no response to their complaints, then there is such a thing as “negligence” in Canadian law.
    Then look up what constitutes “negligence” under Ontario law and find out what if anything in the law would apply in this situation.

    • Barbara
      Posted February 5, 2016 12:54 pm 0Likes

      Wikipedia: Canadian tort law
      Scroll down to: Unintentional Tort
      Negligence: When negligence occurs
      Has a list of negligence situations.
      A place to begin learning and then other legal “negligence” references can be followed.

      • Mike Jankowski
        Posted February 5, 2016 1:03 pm 0Likes

        I like that you are thinking along these lines. A University Prof. in this area told me that;
        – That only real recompense from a Tort is financial (I am not after money, just for the harmful emissions to cease)
        – The test we would be required to meet would still be the same (95% scientific proof of serious and irreversible harm.)
        That being typed, I am not normally one to focus on barriers. Does anyone see this differently?

        • Barbara
          Posted February 5, 2016 1:48 pm 0Likes

          Mike, this is not the same thing. This would be about whether or not complaints were ignored. So would be a complaints issue.
          Everyone has the right to learn about the law which is different than practicing the law.

        • Sommer
          Posted February 5, 2016 2:19 pm 0Likes

          Mike, I so much appreciate your comments wherever I see them.
          The conversation regarding class action lawsuits needs to be moved forward.Who will be the target? The wind industry, the government, the GEA Alliance…or all 3?
          People here have saved their attempts to communicate their on the ground reality and their pleas to all who are responsible to work together to make the necessary changes. They have all saved the feeble responses…or lack thereof.
          This is now evidence of neglect of duty.
          We need Erin Brokovich.

          • Wind Concerns Ontario
            Posted February 5, 2016 5:07 pm 0Likes

            Just to step in here on the topic of class action suits (again) they can take as long as 10 years to be certified and even then, you have no guarantee they will proceed. Every step to hold the government to account RIGHT NOW is important.

        • Barbara
          Posted February 5, 2016 7:49 pm 0Likes

          And WCO has a very valid point on Class actions with the time element.
          Is it possible to separate out just the “Complaint” issue from “Noise Complaints”? That is complaints not being responded to issue.
          Sometimes a “whole” issue can be broken down into parts and dealt with as separate issues/parts.

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