The blight of shadow flicker from turbine blades could soon be a thing of the past for those living near wind farms.
The government has recommended strict guidelines for developers to relieve householders of the annoying strobe-like effect.
The flickering is caused by the periodic shadows that are cast by the wind turbine’s rotor blades.
Residents living near to the giant turbines have complained that the ‘visual pollution’ has caused stress-related symptoms and headaches – and even led to a fall in house prices.
But their misery could soon be over after a Government study into the problem recommended that the turbines are no longer built too close to homes.
The report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change suggested that turbines should be more than 10 rotor diameters from properties.
An average turbine with an 80-metre diameter would need to be 800 metres from the nearest home.
The report stated that shadow flicker could be a ‘significant nuisance’ and mentioned a risk for people with epilepsy whose condition could be triggered by the constant flashing of light.
Lynn Harlock said she was ‘sick to death’ of the flicker caused from turbine at the Redtile wind farm half-a-mile from her home in Cambridgeshire.
‘You cannot sit in any room when the sun is setting at certain times of the year,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.
‘It is like flashing strobe lighting. It is quite upsetting not being able to sit in your own home.
‘People think you are barmy. They think you are after compensation. But all we want is our home back.’
The report went on to say that there was no ‘significant’ risk to health but that does not include the day-to-day problems face by people living near the turbines.
The report recommended that homes and offices within 500 metres of the turbines should not suffer flickers for more than 30 minutes a day or 30 hours per year.
The reports suggests that developers should implement measures around the turbines that would stop the ‘significant nuisance’ caused by the flicker.
These include shutting down a turbine during periods of the day or during sunny month. Trees could also be planted to shield houses from the shadows.
But some wind turbine experts claimed the measures outlined in the report were not strong enough. Lee Moroney from the Renewable Energy Foundation said that turbines should not be built in residential areas.
Energy minister Charles Hendry said: ‘It is vital that we use the most up-to-date, robust and accurate scientific evidence when looking at the impact of wind farms on communities.
‘This study will be helpful to communities, developers and planners as they assess proposals for onshore wind projects.’
The report comes as the government today prepares for a parliamentary debate on a number of imminent changes to environmental measures such as bio-fuels and offshore wind projects.
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