Living near wind turbines can cause stress, anxiety and sleep loss, a government report has admitted.
The report, commissioned by the former Department for Energy and Climate Change last year, found a “clear link” between the amount of noise emitted by a wind farm and the irritation nearby residents experience.
If turbines exceed 40 decibels, there is an “increased risk” of sleep deprivation, thus in turn leading to stress and anxiety.
However, the sleeplessness was caused more by the frustration evoked from living near a loud wind turbine than the turbine itself, the report added.
It recommends that “excessive” noise should be curbed, citing the possibility of modifying turbine blades to stop disturbances.
However, it is not just noise that causes irritation. The report also says that flickering shadows caused by revolving turbine blades, as well as the general “appearance in the landscape” of wind farms can be equally irksome
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.”
In 2014, a senior Irish health official warned of so-called “wind turbine syndrome”, saying that infrasonic vibrations emitted by the turbines can potentially lead to “fatigue, dizziness, headache, difficulty concentrating, and insomnia.”
“There are specific risk factors for this syndrome and people with these risk factors experience symptoms,” the country’s deputy chief medical officer said. “These people must be treated appropriately and sensitively as these symptoms can be very debilitating.”
Ireland’s Department of Health did not heed the advice, however, calling it a “general overview of the literature in this area” that “did not constitute expert advice.”