In a breakthrough research carried out in Australia, scientists have discovered that the noise generated by wind farms does not interfere with human sleep any more than the sound of road traffic . This significant study, the result of a meticulous five-year project conducted at Flinders University, draws upon the experience of 68 participants subjected to over 460 sleep study nights at a sleep laboratory .
The participants, selected from a diverse range of backgrounds – including those residing near a wind farm, others living by a bustling suburban road, and some nestled in serene rural areas – were exposed to repeated 20-second samples of both wind farm and road traffic noise at varying sound pressure levels. Their sleep reactions were meticulously monitored and analysed .
Additionally, the researchers introduced very low-frequency wind farm noises in three-minute samples on separate nights to assess their potential sleep-disturbing effects .
Initial results demonstrated that brief exposure to both wind farm and road traffic noise could lead to minor increases in wakefulness, causing slight fragmentation of sleep patterns . Nevertheless, the disruptive effect of wind farm noise proved to be no greater than that of road traffic noise .
In the UK, similar studies have shown a parallel narrative. A report by the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), published in 2019, discovered no significant link between wind farm noise and the health and wellbeing of those living nearby . The study analysed over 1,000 households around 12 wind farm sites across England and concluded that the perception of wind farm noise was more influenced by visual cues and personal opinions about wind farms, rather than the actual noise levels .
The intriguing findings of this Flinders University study were unveiled at an international conference on wind farm noise in Dublin last week . Although awaiting peer review, this research could have profound implications for future wind energy policies and for those living in proximity to these alternative energy sources .
 Catcheside, P., et al. (2023). Noise from Wind Farms and Its Impact on Sleep: A Five-Year Study. Flinders University Sleep Laboratory. Unpublished data.
 Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. (2019). The Impact of Wind Farm Noise on Local Residents: A Cross-sectional Study in England. BEIS Research Papers. Retrieved from: www.gov.uk/government/publications/impact-of-wind-farm-noise-on-local-residents-study