A study into the Waterloo Wind Farm, south-east of Clare, has found there is no evidence linking noise from the farm to any adverse effects on local residents.
The study was undertaken by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) during April and June.
It has found noise produced does not breach authority guidelines and that low frequency infrasound levels are below internationally-accepted thresholds for perception.
The authority also says in some situations there was no association between events described by residents in noise diaries with audio records and data.
The authority’s Peter Dolan says he cannot say why local residents are complaining about health effects.
“It’s not up to me to speculate,” he said.
“The EPA’s role is to monitor noise. We’ve done that and we weren’t able to find anything in the noise spectrum which could account for the concerns of residents but we do agree that they’re concerned and more work will need to be done by health authorities or others about what that might be.”
Mr Dolan says the study was different to many others.
“Some fundamental differences, firstly we had monitoring data for a long period, so for 10 weeks at a number of locations,” he said.
“Secondly, we also had weather data at each site and we also had the data from the wind farm itself – wind direction and wind speed at the farm – and also we were able to shut down the wind farm on six occasions – to our knowledge no-one has done that combination of things before.”
Mary Morris from the Mid North Wind Farm Awareness group remains convinced that the wind farm does cause health issues.
“What people want is the noise guidelines to be changed so that there’s a quieter level required at night but they’re not looking at doing that at all,” she said.
“So basically we just go back to sleepless nights and things and I don’t know what it’s going to take for the noise guidelines to change.”
She lives 17 kilometres from the farm and says more investigation is needed.
“I know that they’re going to forward the noise diary information with everybody’s descriptions of symptoms and signs and things they’ve had to the health authorities and see if that can be lined up with some sleep studies perhaps,” she said.
“People can … function during the day with noise but at night if they can’t sleep, it really impacts badly on their health.”
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