Sleep disturbance and wind turbine noise
by Dr. Christopher Hanning
This report centers on the effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep as this is the particular area of expertise of the author. It was prepared by Dr. Christopher Hanning who founded, and until retirement, ran the Leicester Sleep Disorders Service, one of the longest standing and largest services in the United Kingdom.
There can be no doubt that groups of industrial wind turbines ("wind farms") generate sufficient noise to disturb the sleep and impair the health of those living nearby. Section 5.1.1 of the draft New Zealand standard on wind farm noise, 2009, states: "Limits for wind farm noise are required to provide protection against sleep disturbance and maintain reasonable residential amenity." Reports from many different locations and different countries have a common set of symptoms and have been documented by Frey and Hadden (2007). New cases are documented regularly on the Internet. The symptoms include sleep disturbance, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, changes in mood and inability to concentrate and have been named "wind turbine syndrome" by Dr Nina Pierpont (2006), one of the principal researchers in this field. The experiences of the Davis (2008) and Rashleigh (2008) families from Lincolnshire whose homes were around 900m from wind turbines make salutary reading. The noise, sleep disturbance and ill health eventually drove them from their homes. Similar stories have been reported from around the world, in anecdotal form but in large numbers.