IN THE SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA AT MELBOURNE COMMON LAW DIVISION MAJOR TORTS LIST No. S ECI 2020 00471
B E T W E E N
NOEL UREN and another Plaintiffs -and-
BALD HILLS WIND FARM PTY LTD Defendant
Filed on: 08/10/2021
3. John Zakula is now in his seventh year of enduring the nuisance. The noise is so bad for him that he has bricked in his bedroom window and takes to sleeping in his car when he just cannot endure another night of sleeplessness. Mr Zakula — a qualified engineer — has meticulously logged the noise disturbances from the wind turbines year after year. But no matter how many letters he sent reporting the noise and deaf to the messages Mr Zakula left on the Defendant’s phone hotline complaining of the noise, the Defendant has not curtailed a single turbine in response to Mr Zakula’s particular complaints. Nor has it repaired the faulty gearboxes which affected its turbines, despite knowing of tonality defects for years and years.
10. …..First, there is evidence that nineteen neighbours were affected in a similar fashion to the Plaintiffs2 (Contrary to the Defendant’s Submissions,3 Mr Soler was one of the persons whose ability to sleep was affected.) Seven of those neighbours gave evidence in the proceeding. They presented as witnesses of ordinary fortitude. It was not put to them that they were hypersensitive. Save in the case of Mr Jelbart 4 it was not even put to them that their opposition to the wind farm might have affected their perception of the noise. On the balance of probabilities, it should be accepted that the seven neighbours’ evidence illustrated the effect of the wind farm noise on ordinary people. It is clear from the Plaintiffs’ lay witnesses and the complaints in the Defendants’ records that the Defendant’s turbines tend to be so noisy that they annoy neighbours during the day and frequently wake them up at night, particularly in cooler weather.
Shortsighted planning has often resulted in the creation of problem industries that adversely affect public health and quality of life, compromise aesthetics, and degrado community character. Industrial WEFs are not exempt from those problems, and careful siting and protections are of paramount importance, This local Law will contribute to this effort
A WEF may be a significant source of noise and vibration for the community. These can have negative health impacts on nearby residents, particularly in quiet rural areas. These can also negatively affect the quiet enjoyment of the area, properties, and quality of life of residents. According to various medical experts and the World Health Organization, the infrasound component of such noise can be the most problematic
Meeting ID: 835 6265 6374 Passcode: 151296 One tap mobile +16465588656,,83562656374#,,,,*151296# US (New York) +13017158592,,83562656374#,,,,*151296# US (Washington DC)
Dial by your location +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) Meeting ID: 835 6265 6374 Passcode: 151296 Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/keGBNyty9P
Complaint process for wind turbine noise inherited by the Ford government not effective
April 12, 2021
Wind Concerns Ontario has just released its latest report on how the Ontario government has responded to citizen complaints about excessive wind turbine noise from grid-scale wind power projects.
Warning: the contents of this report can make for difficult reading.
The excerpts of comments from people calling into the 24/7 Spills Action Centre telephone line, or sending emails to their local District Office of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks are an alarming demonstration of the desperation felt by families forced with the wind turbine noise—some of them, for many years.
“We ache all over and can hardly function we are so tired. Please tell us what to do. Please respond.”
“Noise described as a ‘whooing’ sound, both heard and felt.”
“This continues to be horrendous.”
“Caller reports a pulsing roar.”
“This is the 65th time they have called.”
“We can’t go on like this.”
Polluted acoustic environment
One complaint documented was from a technician hired to do monitoring of bat populations near Bow Lake, who questioned whether he/she could continue the work due to the “acoustic pollution” from the wind turbines. The wind turbines were “generating unacceptably intrusive and potentially dangerous noise emissions into the natural environment,” the person reported. This is a “polluted acoustic environment.”
This report is based on Incident Reports created in 2018, received as the result of a request under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act. The request was filed in January 2019; we received almost 4,000 pages of documents this past March. The report is fourth in a series, examining ministry response back to 2006.
It’s not working
The overarching conclusion from examining the complaint records as a whole is that Ontario’s complaint monitoring process, which the current government inherited from previous administrations, is not working. Key findings:
Complaints about wind power projects are part of the process government promised would ensure protection of health and safety. Robust enforcement of the regulations in response to these complaints will fulfill that responsibility.
In total, almost 6,000 files of complaints about wind turbine noise, vibration and sound pressure have been released to Wind Concerns by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.
39 percent of complaints in 2018 noted adverse health effects.
The records show that complaints do not result in real action by the project operators, despite requirements of approvals for the project.
The process to accept and record citizen complaints is inconsistent, and information gathered is incomplete.
There appears to be no ministry-wide evaluation and review process for citizen complaints about environmental noise produced by wind turbines.
The report concludes with recommendations on how the complaint handling process could be improved as an enforcement tool, and could provide opportunities to act on other issues such as electricity costs.
Abstract Background: Some people living near wind turbines have reported adverse health effects and taken the step to vacate/abandon their homes, while others contemplate doing so or have decided to remain in their homes. Research on the extent and outcomes of these events is lacking. To date, our preliminary findings and an overview of results have been published in the scientific literature. Methods: This study utilized a qualitative methodology, specifically Grounded Theory, to interview 67 residents of Ontario living within 10 km of an industrial wind turbine project. Objectives: Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research each has strengths and weaknesses in addressing particular research questions. The purpose of this article is to compare the qualitative and quantitative methodologies and to describe the benefits of having used a qualitative methodology, specifically Grounded Theory, to explore the events that influenced families living within 10 km of wind energy facilities to contemplate vacating their homes and to formulate a substantive theory regarding these housing decisions. Results: It was found that research into the impacts of siting industrial wind turbines in a rural residential population can be challenging for a quantitative methodological approach due to factors such as low population density, obtaining a sufficient sample, and achieving statistical power and statistical significance. We conclude that the Grounded Theory methodology was applicable to this study as it assisted with the development of a coherent theory which explained participants’ housing decisions. Discussion: This paper assesses the appropriateness of a qualitative methodology for conducting the vacated/abandoned home study. Through the utilization of the qualitative Grounded Theory methodology, government authorities, researchers, medical and health practitioners, social scientists and policy makers with an interest in health policy and disease prevention have the opportunity to gain an awareness of the potential risk of placing wind energy projects near family homes.
Share and Cite: Krogh, C.M., McMurtry, R.Y., Johnson, W.B., Dumbrille, A., Alves-Pereira, M., Punch, J.L., Hughes, D., Rogers, L., Rand, R.W., James, R., Am- brose, S.E. and Gillis, L. (2021) Grounded Theory as an Analytical Tool to Explore Housing Decisions Related to Living in the Vicinity of Industrial Wind Turbines. Open Access Library Journal, 8, 1-22. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1107233.
Echauffour wind operated by Voltalia has been ordered to shut down its 5 industrial wind turbines based on findings found in an acoustics report produced by Venatech. The report highlighted persistent non-conformity. The wind project began operations in 2019 and is located in Normandy, France.
Christine Royer, the sub-prefect of Argentanacting as Mortagne-au-Perche made the decision which specified that the restart of the installation will be conditioned only with the realization of the installation meeting its obligation to operate within standards. Such a decision maybe a first in France.
The project has been the subject of complaints from adjacent residents since it began operations.
“To go mad or mad” Annick Bouttier, a resident of Echauffour, testifies to her health problems: “For a little over a year, I have been subject to many health problems like many other Echauffouriens, in particular vertigo (hospitalization in February 2020, because vertigo more and more violent), tinnitus 24 hours a day, even pains in the ears (I no longer know the silence), my nights are summed up to about 3 hours (fatigue and exhaustion are there, impossible to recover), headaches … well, I am very healthy. gone to a glass of health! Since March 2020, confinement requires, and teleworking, the problems have intensified, in June 2020 a videonystagmographic examination (VNG) did not detect anything abnormal, and there we start talking to me about my environment, my place of life to come up with a possible “wind syndrome”, some people are supposedly more sensitive than others. To go mad or mad. And still what am I complaining about, I’m not in Val Soubry! “
“A promise made on the campaign trail by Doug Ford in May 2018 to conduct a health hazard investigation on the possible contamination of private water wells in the North Kent Wind farm area is about to be met…..”