An incriminating government memorandum on wind turbines obtained through the Freedom of Information Act was released today by Wind Concerns Ontario’s WINDYLEAKS campaign. The document, written in April 2010, shows that the McGuinty Liberals were well aware that noise from industrial wind turbines operating even in compliance with Ontario’s wind turbine regulations were causing adverse effects on communities.
The damaging report by Cameron Hall, a Senior Environmental Officer with the Ministry of Environment in the Guelph District Office, exposes several serious deficiencies in Ontario’s legislated noise limits for wind turbines at 40 decibels.
Hall describes the noise from wind turbines as ‘sound contamination discharged into the natural environment…’
In the document released today Hall indicates that there are many characteristics of wind turbine noise not addressed in the regulations. These characteristics must be factored into the equation when assessing tolerable turbine noise levels in quiet rural settings especially at night.
Hall comments that wind turbines create an audible ‘swish’ or cyclical sound as the gigantic turbine blades pass the towers at speeds of over 200km/hr. Any other industrial noise with this quality receives a 5 decibel penalty. Currently the Minister of Environment says 40 decibels is the acceptable level for wind turbine noise. However with just that 5decibel penalty the noise limit should be lowered to 35decibels.
For almost four years residents in rural Ontario have played by the book. They have complained about the unbearable noise to the field officers in their region believing that the field officers would communicate the issues to the Minister and his advisers. If this is how the government process works, by burying evidence, then the system is either broken or corrupt.
The FOI document shows in statement after statement that the field officers do not support the Ministry guidelines. Eg. “The assumption…is not supported by our field observations”, “is not supported in the report”, “…this conclusion is not supported by our field officers” , and “ …it appears reasonable to suggest the setback distances should be calculated using a sound level limit of 30 to 32 dBA at the receptor [home], instead of the 40dBA sound level limit.”
An increase to 10 decibels to a noise is perceived by the human ear as a doubling of that sound.
The fact is wind turbine developments in Ontario are permitted to go to 51 decibels even at night – a full 20 decibels over the tolerable threshold for human perception.
What is really disturbing is that it appears this Liberal government is operating in a culture of Willful Blindness at the most senior level including the Ministers of Environment, Health and inside the Premier’s office. www.windyleaks.com was launched this week by Wind Concerns Ontario and will regularly release and feature revealing documents through Ontario’s fall election campaign to educate voters on the Ontario Liberal’s total dishonesty on the impacts of industrial wind turbines.
Wind Concerns Ontario
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding