Library from Ireland
The 70-turbine wind farm, owned by Gort Windfarms, a company owned by ESB, was built in the Slieve Aughty Mountains between Gort and Loughrea, Co Galway in 2003 without proper environmental impact assessment. A landslide occurred during construction which caused major damage and is thought to have contributed to severe flooding the following year.
“Evidence to date has clearly shown that the measures proposed will simply not protect families from the negative health impacts of industrial-scale wind turbines. They will condemn families to unnecessary lifelong misery, resulting in a massive waste of people’s time, energy, community money and a clogging of the courts. Communities will not stop fighting this injustice; these guidelines are unacceptable."
Kildare County Council has refused planning permission to Statkraft Ireland Ltd to build Drehid Wind Farm. The decision was announced on December 19 2019.
Noise from wind energy developments will now be subject to a limit of five decibels above existing background noise up to a maximum permitted noise limit of 43 decibels, day or night. This is a tightening of the 2006 noise standards in line with the most up-to-date, best international standards.
The Irish Wind Energy Association has criticised proposed new rules for onshore wind farm development, claiming it will be "more difficult and more expensive" to construct projects under the plans. The rules would see new standards for noise, mandatory community consultations, a minimum setback distance of 500 metres from any residential property in the vicinity of a new development, and other measures.
On Friday, Mr Justice Simons said the developer was precluded by law from re-agitating the argument that the as built turbines are authorised by a 2011 planning permission. The developer had a full opportunity to make its case before the board and it did not challenge the decision they were not exempt under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, he said. The developer could not, therefore, reopen the board’s findings in the High Court proceedings.
The wind farm was regarded as one of the largest in the EU when a landslide occurred during its construction in October 2003 by an ESB subsidiary, Hibernian Wind Power. At the time, large areas of forest and peat up to a depth of 5.5 metres on the top of the Cashlaundrumlahan mountain had been removed, causing the 2km-long “environmentally devastating” slide. Fish were killed and waterways polluted when half a million tonnes of peat and debris was displaced.
People are just looking at the map and saying, ‘oh my god, this is where I fish,’ so there’s a sense of panic. “We only heard about this when the applications were lodged,” Ms McIntyre said. “You must understand how huge this was: it was a complete and utter shock. It’s only in the last few weeks that people are realising how big these are going to be. The biggest wind turbines in the world.”
Large swathes of Offaly countryside are part of a 30-year plan for wind energy production coming before Offaly County Council in the next few weeks.
The most common grounds for complaint in Germany is the protection of birds and bats, which can be endangered by wind turbines. Procedural mistakes, monument protection, noise pollution, health effects and the effects on the local landscape are other common reasons why wind farms are objected to in the EU's largest country. "It is worrying when you think how urgent the need to expand renewable energy is," says Canning. Yet there are many people around Europe who passionately disagree with him.
The new generation of giant offshore wind turbines will challenge public attitudes and test political commitment to renewable energy. Turbines currently under testing are up to three times the height of the Statue of Liberty and nearly four times taller than the 70 metre turbines in Ireland's only offshore wind farm near Arklow.
Should the development be given the go-ahead residents would be left in a situation where they have windmills surrounding them on three sides in a horseshoe shape resulting in “intolerable noise.” As well as the noise, which is already an issue from the existing turbines when the wind blows from the east, there are also concerns in relation to infra sound and low frequency noise; the visual impact; shadow flicker and the devaluation to properties, in some cases making them unsellable.
Coillte says proposal for 10 ‘giant’ turbines on Sligo/Leitrim border is based on new guidelines
those in authority in the EC deemed the situation unacceptable and they began to place more focus on the wind farm, which was located at a site that was at the heart of the landslide. The EC said the situation could not continue and it focused on the wind farm and the difficulties that arose around that. “We don’t believe that the wind farm developers even considered flooding when environmental impact assessments were carried out,” Murray added.
The proposed seven-turbine wind farm in the Behy Mountain area of Cashelard near Ballyshannon has been refused planning permission due to concern over the impact on the hen harrier. Donegal County Council said it could not be satisfied that the development, which would be an extension to an existing wind farm, would not have a negative impact on the breeding grounds and foraging areas of the protected species.
“It is grossly irresponsible and neglectful to be considering planning applications on guidelines that are 13 years old. “Communities have been torn apart and destroyed by some of these applications and it is extremely unfair to allow this continue,” the Kerry councillor concluded.
“There is a serious concern that inappropriately placed and planned wind farm developments can have significant impacts on Raptor populations due to loss of habitat, displacement from breeding areas and increased mortality,” he said. Mr O’Toole said that, despite raising the issue with Ms Madigan and An Bord Pleanála, “wind farms in important breeding areas for Hen Harriers continue to get approval for planning”.
“In Ballyduff, families living close by were forced to leave their homes after the development breached planning regulations – the blades in the turbine were too long. Other residents are now complaining of nausea, tinnitus and insomnia.”
A legal opinion issued by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has proposed that the State should be handed a daily fine of €1,000 for every day since its earlier ruling on July 3, 2008, until it achieves compliance with EU environmental legislation on assessing the impact of the development of a wind farm at Derrybrien in south Galway. Such a fine, if confirmed by the full ruling of the CJEU later this year, would result in a figure of €3,998,000 to date.
Perth and Kinross Council will today make the call on an appeal to build a wind turbine to fuel one of Perth’s biggest employers’ headquarters after an initial application was rejected.