German researchers have studied the effects of noise and sight of wind turbines on local residents. They realized that the most inconvenienced people were those who were initially the most opposed to the project.
The French government announced last week the implementation of new measures to develop wind power in the territory. The country is behind in comparison to its European neighbors. In France, it takes an average of 7 to 9 years for a project to materialize, compared to 3 to 4 years in Germany. One of the reasons mentioned is the resistance of the associations and groups of residents facing the installation of wind turbines.
Noise pollution, visual pollution, clean energy that does not benefit those who live near wind turbines, the arguments to prevent this kind of projects are numerous.
German researchers are interested in the damage caused by wind turbines. They realized that the people most affected were those who were initially the most opposed to the project.
An addiction to nuisances
The study was conducted at Martin Luther University in Halle. Environmental psychologists studied a wind farm from 2012 to 2014. They interviewed residents of the surrounding area: 10% of them said they were bothered by wind turbines.
Everyone felt anxious because of them at least once a month. But they also had difficulty falling asleep, disturbed sleep, irritability or mood disorders. Two years later, the proportion of people bothered by wind turbines dropped to 6.8%.
Dr. Johannes Pol, one of the main authors of the study, explains: "Many residents have become accustomed to the noise of the wind farm or they have resigned themselves to accept it. A good quarter of those who said they were disturbed closes the windows at night so as not to be disturbed by the noise. "
The more we are against, the more we will be disturbed
In conducting their investigation, the researchers realized that the most embarrassed people were those who were initially the most opposed to the project. They were less interested in the advice given to better support wind turbines. The noise variations of wind turbines would be the main reasons that lead to annoyance related to noise.
For researchers, it is important to better organize communication around projects before they are built. Residents should be better informed, more meetings organized, and more dialogue created so that the situation is calmer.
In France, there are today about 7000 wind turbines.