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No single answer for wind farm rules: report

Nova Scotia municipalities grappling with questions about wind turbines near homes will not find a templated solution in a new report prepared for the group representing them.

A consultants’ report suggests the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities choose land-use bylaws or development agreements to make rules dealing with noise from wind turbines and the distance they should be from homes.

Though the report makes some suggestions, there is no single prescription for municipalities that have to set their own rules.

“There’s a lot of, ‘He said, she said’ related to this particular topic, so we really asked the consultant to have a good look at what was there for peer-reviewed and scientific literature,” said Peggy Crawford, sustainability co-ordinator for the UNSM.

“The first thing that really came out was that there still is a shortage of that kind of information. Secondly, there are no internationally accepted standards.”

There is a plan to place 27 turbines in the Pugwash area. But there are several larger wind farms proposed for the Wentworth Valley and Pictou County.

It could be a tax windfall for municipalities, but they are also hearing from citizens who want a buffer zone of one kilometre or more between them and the nearest wind turbine.

The consultants say that’s more space than anywhere else in the world and could chase away wind energy development.

Lisa Betts, a Gulf Shore resident, calls the report a “good start.”

“It’s a beginning and it needs to be worked on some more, and they admit that in the report,” said Betts, who spoke out last year about the proposal for the wind farm near Pugwash.

It remains up to each municipality whether it wants wind farms and what rules it will make to encourage or discourage them. There are no provincial regulations governing noise or the location of wind turbines next to homes.

CBC News

6 February 2008