Library from Ireland
An appeal was lodged against Donegal County Council awarding permission on a number of grounds including that it didn’t take correct note of public submissions, the impact of low level sound on human health as well as a potential negative impact on the environment, scenic beauty and tourism.
Kildare’s County Manager has promised a major review of the county’s wind farm policy. The move came as a result of two motions put before the council yesterday, October 21 - one from Labour and one from Independent Cllr Padraig McEvoy.
Some wind energy developers are “behaving like an oil baron of old” in dismissing concerns of communities about the potentially negative impact of their schemes, according to Minister of State for Planning Jan O’Sullivan.
It is understood that the stem of a wind turbine collapsed on to a digger as it was being moved yesterday. The accident took place at a site used by Siemens at Belfast harbour where wind farms are being manufactured.
The head of one of the country’s biggest wind energy companies issued an apology last night for appearing to dismiss the concerns of people opposed to having turbines beside their homes in an appearance on RTÉ’s Prime Time. Plans to build over 2,000 giant wind turbines across the midlands have prompted fierce protests amid fears that they could cause illness, noise and light pollution and reduce the value of homes.
"Turbines likely to be proposed in the midlands are not of the scale normally proposed on-shore in Ireland and as noise impact is not a consideration for off-shore tribunes, noise modelling and prediction for the turbines is relatively untested. "Consequently a precautionary approach should be taken to new turbines of this scale in proximity to noise sensitive locations," the submission stated.
"The wind industry is dressing up their deception with so called community benefits and are telling our councils that wind energy is free and green. It is not free because our electric bills are still on the rise and it certainly is not green."
The 64-metre long turbine was being taken to a controversial wind farm at Loughderryduff to replace one which snapped and fell there in March. The collapse of the turbine six months ago is still being investigated by the company which owns the site.
"While I fully appreciate the need for sustainable and renewable energy projects, they should not be allowed to compromise the viability and sustainability of parts of the county that are dependent on jobs and revenue from tourism. Another serious issue for concern is that Mayo County Council, as the planning authority, is not allowed to adjudicate on any of these proposals, and no individual or community has the right of appeal.
One of the grounds of refusal was the pollution threat to Doonbeg river, which contains 5,000 freshwater pearl mussels - the highest concentration in Clare. At a six-day oral hearing into the wind farm in April, the country's foremost authority on the mussel, Dr Evelyn Moorkens, said if nothing was done to secure the species' future, it would disappear.
"Fire crews were on the scene for six hours before the incident was handed over to the operator of the turbine." It is believed the fire was caused by an electrical fault.
"The protest march is apolitical and being organised by a broad alliance of community groups which have sprung up to challenge the need for over 2,500 giant wind turbines in Laois and across neighbouring counties," said Sen Whelan.
In Ireland, for example, a court case is pending involving seven families from Banteer, Co Cork and the wind energy company Enercon. The Banteer families claim living near a wind farm has destroyed their quality of life.
Alex Attwood said the reason a final decision had not yet been issued on the long standing proposal to erect a single 60 metre turbine close to Lough Patrick indicated that concerns about the land's religious significance were being factored in.
Two cranes and several lorries spent two days on the windfarm at Loughderryduff, near Mass, Portnoo, as the 245-ft turbine was broken down before being transported to Derry.
Kevin Scully of the Laois Wind Energy Action Group said homeowners were suffering intolerably from constant noise where the turbines had already been erected. He said guidelines on how far the turbines could be located from houses had stipulated a distance of 500 metres when the size of turbines was about 75 metres high.
"The IFA have abandoned rural communities with their unbridled backing for giant wind farms across large tracts of the West and the Midlands. Before it is too late, the IFA should also take the opportunity to revisit its tacit support for selected landowners to sign up secretive contracts with wind farm companies, which are imposing dubious confidentiality clauses and promising the sun, moon and stars in return for land rights and options".
They also fear that close proximity to a wind farm will drag already deflated house prices down even further. And with no regulation to set out minimum distances, some Irish householders are already living less than 500 metres away from the nearest turbine.
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It is "far too soon" to make final judgments on which of the export-orientated windfarm projects now being mooted will be approved and under what terms. "There is no fait accompli at this stage. None of this has reassured objectors, who are concerned about the noise and visual impact of onshore turbines and also see the export of wind energy to Britain as equivalent to "selling the family silver".