The Ontario government is proposing new regulations that would keep wind turbines at least 550 metres away from any house. The province wants that minimum distance, or "setback," to be mandatory for wind developers who install one to five turbines emitting the lowest allowable noise level. Greater distances would be required for larger groups of turbines.
The setbacks are twice as big as what industry officials were expecting. For 15 turbines, for instance, the distance from the nearest house could be 1.5 km, depending on the noise level.
The proposed regulations were posted Tuesday on the government’s Environmental Registry website, listing public notices about environmental matters.
The news is discouraging for industry officials who say the proposed rules could mean the end of any new wind farms in southern Ontario.
The Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative wants to add two turbines to the one already running at Exhibition Place in Toronto, but its executive director, Judith Lipp, said the new rules would scuttle the plan, adding that doesn’t make sense in terms of noise pollution.
She said the existing turbine creates a lot less noise than traffic on the nearby Gardiner Expressway.
Dr. Robert McMurtry, a former dean of medicine at the University of Western Ontario who has studied the health effects of living near wind turbines, said the proposed regulations are definitely an improvement.
Critics of the turbines say people living near wind farms have complained about dizziness, headaches, loss of cognitive abilities and sleep disruptions.
CBCNews Canada, 19 juni 2009