A local group opposed to wind turbines is once again calling on the province to put a stop to the controversial wind power projects, after a new report found many noise complaints related to the turbines are being ignored.
Dutton Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines (DDOWT), a group made up people from the rural community southwest of London, has written to Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Glenn Murray demanding he stop any new wind turbine approvals.
Their demand comes in light of documents obtained by Wind Concerns Ontario under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents show the Ministry of Environment chose not to investigate or deferred responding to roughly 68% of all noise and health complaints made against green energy operators in the province between 2006 and 2014.
A list of 3,180 complaints is included in the documents. Of those, more than 1,700 were not investigated by the ministry. In another 446 of the complaints the ministry deferred responding. Complainants reported sleep disturbances, headaches, and dizziness from the wind turbine noise emissions.
“Noise emissions, both audible and inaudible low frequency noise, have been a concern of many of our citizens. This recent news that there are thousands of noise complaints, most of which were not dealt with adequately by the MOECC, justifies our concerns,” said Dave Congdon, DDOWT spokesperson. “We expect that at a minimum, more than 450 people in Dutton Dunwich, including young children and seniors, will be exposed to the noise produced by these industrial power-generating machines, and who may experience disturbed sleep and other symptoms. This is totally unacceptable.”
Residents in Dutton Dunwich have been crusading to stop the Strong Breeze wind farm, which was granted approval during the first phase of the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in March 2016. Construction of the 57.5 megawatt renewable energy project is slated to begin next year.
The approval came despite the municipality declaring itself a non-willing host in 2014 after conducting a survey that found 84% of residents were against wind turbines.
“Dutton Dunwich is near Chatham-Kent, where citizens have been forced to live near hundreds of wind turbines. We have heard from many of our neighbours there,” said Jamie Littlejohn, DDOWT spokesperson and area farmer. "They confirm that when they phone in noise complaints to the MOECC spills line, they get very little, if any, assistance. This recent evidence that the government is not fulfilling its mandate to help citizens who are suffering, is a clear indication that the wind contracts must be cancelled.”
While the documents show ministry staff were sometimes prevented from responding to complaints due to limited resources, in most cases no reason was given for unaddressed resident concerns.
BlackburnNews.com has reached out to the MOECC for comment on the documents, but has yet to receive a response.