Glen Lonan WIND FARM


People that live in areas where wind farms are being proposed frequently express concerns about how they will be affected.  This often centres on the environmental aspects such as landscape and noise but also draws upon other issues, such as the effect that a wind farm might have on property prices. As a result, a wide range of studies have been undertaken to examine these concerns and are available on Government and Industry association websites. 

The development of wind farms in the UK is now well established and the technologies have progressed significantly over the course of the past two decades.  There is a lot of misunderstanding about wind farms and it is common to read conflicting reports about the true impacts that they give rise to. 

How strong does the wind have to blow?

Wind turbines start operating at wind speeds of 3 to 4 metres per second (around 7 miles an hour), depending on the turbine model, and reach maximum power output at 10 - 15 metres per second (around 22 - 23 miles per hour). In gale force winds (25 metres per second, 50+ miles per hour) wind turbines shut down to avoid gearbox damage; this is not a common occurrence. The turbine type is chosen to suit the most commonly experienced range of wind speeds for a particular site.  

Do the turbines affect birds and wildlife?

In depth studies are undertaken as part of the environmental impact assessment process to ensure that the ornithological interests of a proposed wind farm location are well understood.  If there are ornithological sensitivities, this may lead to changes to a wind farm’s design and if significant populations of endangered species are present and vulnerable it may lead to the development not being taken forwards to a planning application at all.  Equally, it may not impact upon the wind farm design if there is not a significant ornithological interest at the proposed location of the wind farm. The impacts upon birds posed by wind farms are well understood and this allows a robust assessment to be undertaken to feed into the decision making process.

Do wind turbines frighten livestock?

Wind farms are popular with farmers because their land can continue to be used for growing crops or grazing livestock, promoting agricultural diversification and providing an additional income. Sheep, cows and horses are not disturbed by wind turbines. The first wind farm built in the UK is located at Delabole. This farm also houses a stud farm and a riding school.

Are they noisy?

No, modern turbines are quiet. Even if you were to stand amongst the turbines, a normal conversation could be conducted. As part of the development process we often arrange visits to wind farms for interested people in the local community. The following table provides some noise levels from commonly experienced sources for comparison. 


Indicative noise level dB (A)

Threshold of pain


Jet aircraft at 250 m


Pneumatic drill at 7 m


Truck at 30 mph at 100 m


Busy general office


Car at 40 mph at 100 m


Wind farm at 350 m

35 – 45

Quiet bedroom


Rural night-time background

20 – 40

Threshold of hearing



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