Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Wind turbine noise

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 08 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1527

Rapid Response:

Re: Wind turbine noise

Writing as someone who used to live 1km from a windfarm, and whose career has been involved in some way or other with public health. I make the following observations. We welcomed the wind farm, why would e not? We could not see the turbines from our home. We thought them to be admirable structures, a significant engineering achievement, and graceful in operation. We were completely and wholly unprepared for the noise and sleep deprivation that we immediately suffered from. None of my family have had problems sleeping before, but we did then, and being suddenly awoken in the early hours and being unable to get back to sleep night after night is very unpleasant, and rapidly makes normal day to day living almost impossible. It is well documented, and within the public domain that we tried (as other respondents have suggested) ear plugs, white noise machines, fans and medication. Nothing worked. Once we stopped sleeping at home, we were able to sleep normally again. We can sleep next to motorways, industrial sites, strain stations and airports – but this was something else altogether. You do not habituate to it.
Noise is of course a physical “presence”, and given that science is still discovering more and more about how the body “hears” and interprets sounds, my feeling is that we are; A) not measuring what is actually being emitted that impacts on human bodies and B) not perhaps yet able to scientifically understand the impact of whatever “frequency” (if that is what it is) has on the human body. There is, in my opinion, much yet to be learnt and understood about sound waves and their impacts. There is much to be aid for not dismissing something as being of little or no relevance just because you cant see it, not seeing it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Competing interests: Recent neighbour of a wind farm. Took allegations of a private nuisance to the High Court in July 2011. Case settled out of court before noise evidence was heard in December 2011. No longer a wind farm neighbour

22 April 2012
Sarah Jane Davis
Nurse, and Health Visitor
Spalding. Lincolnshire. England