Wind farms cause stress and sleep loss, Government review finds
Residents living near wind farms can suffer stress and poor quality sleep as a result of the noise generated according to a new Government review.
The report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change last year found a “clear link” between the amount of noise emitted by an energy site and irritation experienced by people living nearby.
It found there was an “increased risk” of suffering from sleep deprivation from turbines exceeding 40 decibels.
But the prospect of a sleepless night was generally an “indirect” link caused by the frustration evoked from having a loud wind farm in your community, it added.
The review recommended that “excessive” noise should be clamped down on, citing potential measures such as modifying the turbine blade.
The findings ratcheted up pressure on the Government to be more heavy handed with noisy farms, with one MP calling for them to be “shut down permanently”.
The East Anglia One energy project approved earlier this year will see the construction of 102 seven megawatt turbines 30 miles off the coast in the North Sea. Offshore projects generally face less opposition because they are placed further away from densely populated areas.
But Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been fighting the construction of an offshore windfarm near his luxury golf course in Scotland for several years over concerns that it would spoil the view.
Complaints about noise disturbance can range from the steady swishing noise from the blade to a louder thump that can sometimes occur, the review said.
But, it added, the annoyance is not just limited to the thunderous sound a wind farm can create.
Flickering shadows created by the swirling blade and its “appearance in the landscape” can similarly irk those who live near one.
Conservative MP Glyn Davies told the Sunday Telegraph: “Where there are noisy wind farms they are hugely disruptive.
“Noisy wind farms should be shut down unless they can be changed. They would need to be shut down permanently.”
RenewableUK’s director of policy for consents and intelligence Gemma Grimes said: “It’s good to see that this official report confirms what every other peer-reviewed study around the world has found - that there’s no evidence of any direct link between wind farms and health, stress or sleep issues.
She added: “On the rare occasions when any questions on acoustic issues come up, our industry always works hard to address them swiftly and effectively as a matter of course, as we’re determined to remain good neighbours with local communities. That’s why the onshore wind industry took the lead on understanding this issue and addressing it.”