Manvers Wind Concerns Response to ERT Decision


Local groups have been analyzing last week’s decision by the
Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) and the Chatham Kent Wind Farm
proposal known as Kent Breeze.  The Tribunal was launched following the
Renewal Energy Approval of the Kent Breeze wind project.  

“We wish this had a different outcome but the Tribunal did recognize
that Industrial Wind Turbines can cause harm when placed too close to
homes” says Manvers Wind Concern Chair, Paul Reid.  “This is an enormous
step forward in the wind debate. It confirms what we have been

The Tribunal dismissed the appeal because it did not meet the legal test
set out in the Environmental Protection Act but it did call for further
research noting that “The mere fact that some evidence is not peer
reviewed does not automatically disqualify it or prevent the Tribunal
from relying on it…. Further peer-reviewed science … would be a welcome
development in the debate …It is, therefore, no surprise that the legal
test, which requires proof of harm, has not been satisfied …Just
because the appellants have not succeeded in their appeals, that is no
excuse to close the book on further research.”

The Tribunal also pointed out the need to address challenges and
uncertainties associated with predicting, measuring and assessing sound.
A suitable test for measuring sound has yet to be released by the
Ministry making testing for noise levels impossible to determine
accurately. The Tribunal pointed out the need for progress as compliance
measurement will be an important aspect of the implementation of any
renewable wind energy projects.

The Tribunal also commented on the Ministry of Environment’s
Statement of Environmental Values and how it was applied to this
project: “…more work should be done within the MOE on putting the
precautionary principle into practice …  it calls upon all of us to take
significant steps to reduce energy demands and encourage conservation. …
the precautionary principle serves as a modern reminder of the old
adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. They also
stated that “…precautionary measures should be taken to minimize the
risk that renewable energy projects in some locations will simply
sacrifice one value (e.g., an environmental amenity or public health)
for another”

“The Environmental Review Tribunal has acknowledged concerns
regarding health and the need for further research.They have stated that
setbacks do matter” says Paul Reid, Chair of Manvers Wind Concerns.“The
debate is now about how close is safe …They have recognized that they
can cause harm and called for further research. The Government needs to
recognize the risk and call a moratorium until they can prove no harm.”

Consideration is underway as to what may follow in Chatham Kent.

As for those facing projects in this municipality: The projects
proposed in the City of Kawartha Lakes are located near two schools, a
residential area and on the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Residents have been voicing concerns regarding setbacks, noise
levels, shadow flicker and the impact on the community’s health and
safety, as well as environmental and economic concerns.The companies
still have to complete the required studies as well as fulfill
consultation requirements with the community and municipality before
they can file their REA Application for Approval.

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