Cheshire East planners who are currently debating whether to approve a planning application for a wind turbine on Sutton Common may wish to take notice of the latest studies, which have found that noise from wind farms has a significant impact on sleep and mental health.

The study compared a group living within a mile of a wind farm with one further afield.

The researchers found a `clear and significant` difference in the quality of sleep enjoyed by both.

More than a quarter of those living near turbines said they had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety since the wind farm started. More than a quarter of the same group also said they had been prescribed sleeping pills.

The research, by British and American scientists, was conducted in the US State of Maine. Published In the Journal Noise and Health, it is the first to show a clear relationship between wind farms and health and wellbeing.

In the UK, planning guidance allows a night-time noise level from wind farms of 42 decibels – equivalent to the hum of a fridge. As a result, wind turbines are not allowed to be built within 380 yards of homes.

However, Dr Lee Moroney, of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: The limits were drawn up 16 years ago, when turbines were less than half the current size. `Worse still, the guidelines permit turbines to be built so close to houses that wind turbine noise will not infrequently be clearly audible indoors at night time, so sleep impacts and associated health effects are almost inevitable.`

Last week energy minister John Hayes said turbines had been `peppered around the country` with little regard for communities. `Enough is enough,` he said.

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