Wind farms can cause stress and sleep loss for nearby residents, review finds

Annoyance caused by living next to a noisy wind farm can lead some people to become stressed and lose sleep, a Government review has found.

A "clear link" between the amount of noise emitted by an energy site and irritation experienced by nearby residents was identified in a report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change last year.

Published this week, the paper said 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".

Complaints about noise disturbance can range from the steady swishing noise from the blade to a louder thump which 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."