Wind turbine noiseBMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1527 (Published 08 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1527
- Christopher D Hanning, honorary consultant in sleep medicine1,
- Alun Evans, professor emeritus2
- 1Sleep Disorders Service, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester LE5 4PW, UK
- 2Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University of Belfast, Institute of Clinical Science B, Belfast, UK
The evidence for adequate sleep as a prerequisite for human health, particularly child health, is overwhelming. Governments have recently paid much attention to the effects of environmental noise on sleep duration and quality, and to how to reduce such noise.1 However, governments have also imposed noise from industrial wind turbines on large swathes of peaceful countryside.
The impact of road, rail, and aircraft noise on sleep and daytime functioning (sleepiness and cognitive function) is well established.1 Shortly after wind turbines began to be erected close to housing, complaints emerged of adverse effects on health. Sleep disturbance was the main complaint.2 Such reports have been dismissed as being subjective and anecdotal, but experts contend that the quantity, consistency, and ubiquity of the complaints constitute epidemiological evidence of a strong link between wind turbine noise, ill health, and disruption of sleep.3
The noise emitted by a typical onshore 2.5 MW wind turbine has two main components. A dynamo mounted on an 80 m tower is driven through a gear train by …