A family in Chatham-Kent has launched a civil claim against the Kent Breeze wind farm, which is owned by Suncor Energy. The Michaud's allege that the wind turbines emit audible and inaudible noise, low frequency noise and light flicker that negatively affect their health, cause vertigo, annoyance, sleep disturbance, despair and exhaustion. They are claiming $1.5 million in damages and are seeking an injunction to shut down the project.
Recent history suggests that the Michaud's may face an uphill battle. Their lawsuit follows two other unsuccessful legal challenges of wind farms in Ontario earlier this year. On July 18, 2011 the Environmental Review Tribunal dismissed an appeal of the Renewable Energy Approval granted to the Kent Breeze project. The Tribunal held that the appellants had failed to provide sufficient evidence to show that the low frequency sound generated by wind turbines will cause serious harm to human health.
On March 3, 2011, the Ontario Divisional Court dismissed Ian Hanna's application for judicial review of provincial regulations that established a minimum setback of 550 meters for wind turbines. Mr. Hanna alleged that the government failed to take into account potential adverse health effects from the low frequency sound and vibration emitted by wind turbines. The Court disagreed, finding that there "was a full public consultation and a consideration of the views of interested parties. The ministerial review included science-based evidence, such as reports of the World Health Organization and the opinions of acoustical engineering experts. Cognizant of the possible health concerns, the minister decided the minimum 550-metre setback was adequate." The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed Mr. Hanna's appeal of the Divisional Court's decision on June 21, 2011.
The Michaud's claim, which is based on negligence, nuisance and trespass, has not yet been heard by any court.