The Board of Health for the Grey Bruce Health Unit wants the government of Ontario to undertake studies into the issues identified by Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hazel Lynn, in her report reviewing potential avenues of investigation into the effects of Industrial Wind Turbines.
“Municipal Councils are struggling with the issue of large Wind Farm developments,” said Board Chair, Mike Smith. “I would like to thank Doctor Lynn for her work and insight on this topic; it provides the Board of Health and municipalities some important additional information on the affects of Wind Farms in our communities.”
The Board’s position is in response to a report reviewing the potential avenues of study on the effects of Industrial Wind Turbines by Medical Officer of Health, Hazel Lynn. On November 19, 2010, the Board passed the following:
“That, on behalf of the Board of Health, the Medical Officer of Health investigate initiating a study to examine the effects the installation of Industrial Wind Turbines in close proximity to residential homes, or residential areas, has had on residents in Grey and Bruce Counties.”
1. Many people, in many different parts of Grey Bruce and Southwestern Ontario have been impacted by the noise and proximity of wind farms.
2. Wind farm noise does not bother most people who hear it or live near it. Worldwide, the majority of wind developments do not generate substantial ongoing noise issues.
3. The nature of the sounds made by wind turbines make it especially difficult to measure or report.
4. Communities and individuals are facing difficult social choices. A determination has to be made as to what level or extent of negative impacts is tolerable; how many such affected neighbours are we willing to accept?
The report lays out nine standards used to measure evidence of whether exposure to wind turbine technology causes symptoms that people are experiencing. It identifies that any studies undertaken to demonstrate a link with exposure must also recognize additional bias, causal and supporting factors.
The report provides eight areas for further exploration and research:
1. Determining the prevalence of susceptibility – what portion of exposed people suffers distress.
2. Comparisons of the prevalence of susceptibility between various Industrial Wind Turbine technologies, designs, size and siting.
3. Improving field measurement of the broadband noise including low frequency noise.
4. Finding a biomarker for susceptible individuals.
5. Collecting econometric data to assess the real costs of the new technology.
6. Examining technological changes in design, operation and maintenance of Industrial Wind Turbine installations to reduce the noise and impact on residents.
7. Community and social research to determine the best way to introduce new technology to a variety of communities so that the community and social disruption is lessened.
8. Looking at what specific community research and consultation should be undertaken before installation of an Industrial Wind Turbine development in order to ensure that everyone in the community can tolerate the new technology and all will benefit.
The report also reviews the role and responsibilities of the Board of Health. It also notes the lead ministries regarding this issue are the Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Energy.