Review of evidence: light and shadow effects from wind turbines in Scotland

The Scottish Government has asked ClimateXChange (CXC) to manage a research project to review how light and shadow effects from wind farms are considered and communicated in the development planning process in Scotland.  

This project follows on from CXC’s Wind Farm Impacts Study (2015), which looked at whether the impacts predicted by wind farm developers in documentation submitted with their planning applications are consistent with the impacts experienced once the wind farm is operational.

That study considered a range of evidence, including information provided by residents who live near wind turbines. It found that residents have reportedly experienced a range of light and shadow effects from wind farms that have not been identified by assessments undertaken during the planning process.  It also found that some residents did not feel that they had been accurately informed of predicted light and shadow effects before wind turbines were built.  As a result the report recommended developing national guidance on how light and shadow effects from wind farms should be defined, assessed and communicated throughout the planning process.

This project is an evidence review that will contribute to meeting these recommendations by assessing how light and shadow effects are currently considered and communicated through the planning process in Scotland.

The research findings will be used to provide recommendations on how to improve:

  • the definition of light and shadow effects and impacts;
  • methods for predicting the impact of light and shadow effects on local residents; and
  • the communication of light and shadow effects and impacts with local residents.

The insights from the review may be used to inform future guidance for developers and planning authorities.

The project will be completed in late 2016.