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Wind opponent says latest noise study ‘a slap in the face’

Green Energy Act opponent Lorrie Gillis says the McGuinty government’s latest assurances that there are no direct health effects from wind turbines is just another slap in the face for people who have been made sick by industrial wind farms.

“They’re basically being revictimized again,” the Flesherton-area resident said Saturday in an interview.

The province issued a news release Friday with the heading “Expert report confirms no direct health effects from wind turbines.”

It says a study, conducted by noise, vibration and acoustics experts Howe Gastmeier Chapnik Ltd., analyzed the “latest findings on low frequency noise and infrasound from wind turbines” and concluded that the province’s setback rules to control turbine sound are “rigorous.”

The consultants reviewed more than 100 papers and reports from around the world, the release says, and their final report was reviewed and validated by three experts in the field of noise, vibration and acoustics.

“In Ontario, wind turbines must be set back from people’s homes by at least 550 metres. At this distance, much of the sound they produce lies outside the range that people can hear. This aligns with setbacks recommended by the World Health Organization,” the release says.

“The best available science shows there is no direct health risk from wind turbine noise.”

Gillis, a member of Wind Concerns Ontario, said the study is a year old and its author is a member of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

“Since when are engineers qualified to talk about health impacts?” she said.

A truly independent study, led by physicians, is needed, she said.

“The people that are suffering are the ones that we need to listen to right now,” she said.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Progressive Conservative MPP Bill Walker said the study and Liberal government’s news release is just “another spin to try to validate why they continue” with industrial wind turbine project approvals.

He said he still maintains that the province must return planning control for wind turbine developments to municipalities and that an independent epidemiological study is still needed to determine the health effects of wind turbines.

“If this is so iron clad and good for us, then why won’t the government do that?” he said Sunday.

The noise study listed four recommendations, including that Ontario should continue with its current approach for assessing potential sound impacts, continue to monitor emerging science and continue to monitor any changes to regulatory policies in other jurisdictions.

It also says the ministry “should consider putting in place a proven way to measure noise at infrasonic frequencies.”