Wind Concerns Ontario has released a report based on documents received via Freedom of Information request that shows the Ontario government’s process to deal with citizen complaints about wind farm noise is flawed.
From the news release on the website today:
[Documents] show that almost 3,200 reports of noise complaints were made in 2006-2014. In more than half, the government took no action.
“When Premier Dalton McGuinty brought in the Green Energy Act in 2009, he promised the people of rural Ontario to address concerns about health and safety from the turbines,” Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson said. “But they already had multiple complaints about wind turbine noise from 2006 onward, and they were unable and even unwilling to deal with them. This is failure of a government to protect people.
“Their goal appears to be protecting the interests of power development corporations instead.”
Ontario families called the MOECC hotline to report sleep disturbance, headaches, and dizziness from the wind turbine noise emissions. Some were desperate and reported not having slept for days, even weeks at a time.
The reports show, however, that ministry staff had no protocols or guidelines to deal with noise complaints and that high-level directives blocked staff from responding. Staff were told to rely on computer noise models provided by power developers instead of actual noise measurement.
“The noise models said that the turbine noise levels were safe, and within regulations,” Wilson explains, “but complaints continued — the Ministry did nothing. The MOECC chose power developers, their ‘clients,’ over Ontario families.”
Many reports referred to vibration or “pulsing” sensations from the huge turbines, but the MOECC restricted responses to audible noise alone.
“People just gave up and stopped calling,” Wilson, a Registered Nurse, says. “Then, in many cases, the Ministry simply closed their files. There was no help for these people from their government.”
A revised Compliance Protocol was released by the government on April 21, but contains no substantive change to the complaint process.
Wind Concerns Ontario recommends that no more approvals or Notices To Proceed be granted for wind power projects, and that the government develop and enforce new, tougher noise standards.
The full report is available at www.windconcernsontario.ca
Excerpts from the documents:
“ … noise emissions are causing an adverse effect..” Note by MOECC field officer, March, 2010
“…no resources for after-hours monitoring…” Note by MOECC staff November, 2015
[Wind turbine noise] “Sounds like a jet engine roaring” Citizen report, March, 2013
“House [is] vibrating…” Citizen report, February, 2011
“Staff have no options to address complaint” MOECC staff, November 2015
Wind Concerns Ontario can be reach via firstname.lastname@example.org