Now that the Divisional Court has upheld Ontario's renewable
energy approval process, and the decisions of the Environmental Review Tribunal on concerns about
adverse health effects, wind appeals are starting to settle.
The Tribunal has heard appeal after appeal against renewable
energy approvals (REAs) for wind farms, many raising
substantially the same health concerns (commonly concerns about
noise, vibration, annoyance, flicker etc.) based on substantially
the same evidence. The Tribunal has decided, over and over, that
this evidence does not meet the statutory test, i.e. does not
show that engaging in the Project in accordance with the
REA will cause serious harm to human health. Accordingly, no
Ontario REA has been struck down on the grounds of human health
Meanwhile, we hear that health concerns about wind turbines are
lower in areas where the turbines are operating than in areas where
they are merely proposed.
So it makes sense that some wind farm neighbours are deciding to
settle their ERT appeals, rather than to incur the full legal costs
of a hearing they are likely to lose.
For example, the Municipality of Clarington
appealed a five turbine project on the grounds that
it "will cause serious and irreversible harm to human
health, plant life, animal life and the natural environment by
interfering with accurate measurement of local winds and, as a
direct result, causing and permitting the circulation and
distribution of dust contaminated with radioactive material"
from a neighbouring property being remediated by Canadian
Nuclear Laboratories ("CNL").
We hear that some landowners have also settled a
health-claims-based appeal, on terms involving reconfiguring the
turbines to create a larger setback from their home. Withdrawal of
this appeal has not yet been officially approved by the Tribunal,
but hopefully they will welcome and encourage such settlements.
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