British wind turbines turned off when it's windy ... because high winds make them too noisy for nearby residents

You can't make stuff like this up

Wind turbines are being turned off during high winds because they are too noisy. Documents from local authorities show that 269 complaints were received about noise from the rotating blades in the past three years. Some came from residents living up to three miles away.

In nearly half of these cases, operators switched turbines off or reduced their speed. The owner of one wind farm in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, was served with a noise abatement notice.

At Askam wind farm near Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, a control system was installed to turn the seven turbines off at high wind speeds.

Council officers found 12 turbines on a former RAF base in Lissett, near Bridlington in East Yorkshire, had exceeded noise limits after complaints from residents. They arranged with the operators for some to turn more slowly. Similar action was taken following complaints about turbines in Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire and Skelmonae in Aberdeenshire.

A quarter of the complaints were related to small wind turbines which can be fitted on to homes, schools and hospitals. But the rest involved large turbines which can be more than 400ft high.

One in six large wind farms built since 2008 have attracted noise complaints, with residents reporting that humming sounds disrupt their sleep. Locals near a 22-turbine farm in Fullabrook, Devon, said the noise was like a tumble dryer.

A 2009 study of people living close to wind farms in Britain, the U.S., Italy, Ireland and Canada found they caused stress and could increase the risk of heart disease, panic attacks and migraines.

A spokesman for Renewables UK, which represents the industry, said: ‘Wind farm operators strive to be good neighbours and are conscientious in responding to local concerns.’


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