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Research shows linkage between wind farm noise, sleep deprivation and health problems.

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Excessive Amplitude Modulation, Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep and Health - Author: Dr Christopher Hanning

The paper forms part of a wider study undertaken by the INWG and sponsored by Chris Heaton Harris MP.

To download this report and others forming part of the study visit Chris Heaton Harris’s website by clicking below.


Dr Chris Hanning, a leading sleep disorder specialist has amassed and critically evaluated a large body of evidence and shown that that sleep and thus human health are adversely affected by wind turbine noise. The wind industry frequently claims that there is no evidence of ill effects, but this paper shows that the epidemiological evidence, opinions from other experts as to appropriate setback distances, and studies of health effects, all indicate that wind turbine noise can adversely effects sleep and health when turbines are with 1.5km of homes. The problems may extend well beyond this distance with some experts recommending minimum distances of 2.5km.

The research paper refers to 110 peer reviewed papers about wind farm noise, the way in which people respond to the noise, the impact that noise has on sleep, how sleep disturbance can affect health of adults and the learning capacity of children. The weight of epidemiological evidence is that wind turbine noise adversely effects health at distances from turbines to at least 1.5km.

The problem of wind farm noise is not unique to the UK and many of the papers covered by the research are from international sources. The paper was reviewed by Prof Alun Evans ( Belfast) , Carmen Krogh (Canada) and Dr Sarah Laurie (Waubra , Australia )all of whom have extensive knowledge of wind farm noise and medical expertise.

The paper starts with the history of the ETSU  noise regulations which were introduced in 1007 and “….Thought to offer a reasonable degree of protection for wind farm neighbours… ”. A review in 2006 suggested that noise limits should be tightened up at night, but the recommendation was removed from the report when it was issued.

Noise nuisance from wind turbines has been covered up for too long, it is time that noise limits were set such that people living near to turbines were given protection such that they can enjoy their property and have the confidence that their health is not being put at risk.

Other reports and sources of information

"A growing health issue on a Global scale - any new turbines must be at least 10km from peoples homes" - watch the Introductory video

Worldwide perspective of wind farm noise  with links to reports by leading authorities on the subject.

The Waubra Foundation. The  website is evolving with new resources and the latest news. Has an excellent introductory video and all the latest news about wind farm noise / related health problems.

After a period of about one hour, ... setting up instrumentation in the basement and using a laptop computer in the kitchen, the author began to feel a significant sense of lethargy. As further time passed this progressed to difficulty in concentration accompanied by nausea... around the 3 hour mark, he was feeling distinctly unwell.

The effect of wind turbine noiseon sleep and quality of life : A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS OF OBSERVATIONAL STUDIES

Key points

  • The paper is a valuable addition to the worldwide evidence base about wind farm noise, sleep deprivation and health - for links to other reports see below.
  • The paper shows that the UK planning guidance on wind turbine noise formulated back in 1997 does not meet the requirement  of protecting people from the harmful effects of noise. Para 3.4.
  • Wind turbine noise is more annoying than other sources such as  traffic, rail and aircraft. Para 4.1
  • Wind turbine noise includes a large component of very low frequency noise which "may increase considerably the adverse effects on health. Para 4.6.
  • At one wind farm in the USA - 22 people living close by were interviewed and 8 reported new or worsened sleep onset disturbance at least twice a week, and for 9 at least 5 times per week. Para 5.47.
  • In another study  7 out of the 10 school-age children and teens did worse in school during xposure to turbine noise, compared to before or after, including unexpected problems in reading, mathematics, concentration, and test performance - noticed by both teachers and parents.   Para 5.68
  • Children an young people with Autistic Spectrun Disorder (ASD) are especially vulnerable to wind farm noise. Para 5.70.

The Independent Noise Working Group is an independent, multi-disciplined group set up in response to requests from Chris Heaton Harris MP and the National Alliance of Wind farm Action Groups (NAWAG). The Group was set up to review wind turbine noise problems including those caused by the phenomena known as amplitude modulation.

The first study revealed the extent of wind farm noise problems and showed that Amplitude Modulation was a significant factor.  

The second study, reported here, reviews the growing body of evidence that noise from farm wind farms can have a serious detrimental impact on health.

Concerned Wind farm neighbours set up noise monitoring equipment

There is no doubt that wind farm noise is a serious issue and for that reason people living near to the Cotton Farm wind development have set up continuous noise monitoring. Other groups are considering taking similar action.

Read their report here

Or visit their website