Library from Ireland
An engineer has lost his High Court challenge over a proposed wind farm near his home at Kells, in Co Meath.
Dr Alun Evans of Queen’s University Belfast writes that a review of 18 wind turbine health studies concluded that all showed good evidence of causing human distress. Irish planning guidelines for wind energy development are based on the UK’s which are nearly two decades old and relate to the small turbines of that era. Today’s wind turbines are massive and noisier so a 500 metre setback from dwellings is woefully inadequate.
It is understood he has tabled a series of changes to the planning guidelines which would see a dramatic increase beyond the current set-back of 500 meters between wind turbines and private homes.
Waterford City and County Council has become the latest local authority to call on Environment Minister Alan Kelly to block the construction of wind farms until new national guidelines are introduced.
Constant humming and flickering of wind turbines are devaluing homes and causing untold misery for people living in close proximity to them in the county. ...The motion called on the council to place a moratorium on the granting of any new wind farm projects.
Refusing the Cluddaun application yesterday, An Bord Pleanála specifically said it was “not satisfied that the developments as proposed would not have the potential to impact negatively on the surface and groundwater hydrology”. These concerns relate to the potential for peat slippage and changes in the flows of natural streams and rivers.
A 48-turbine wind farm proposed for Co Mayo has been refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála. ...A decision on the larger Oweninny proposal is not expected until at least November.
Permission had been sought to construct what would be the country's biggest wind farm in Co Mayo with 112 turbines. Plans by a number of State companies to erect more than 150 wind turbines in north Co Mayo have been dealt a serious blow by An Bord Pleanála.
An engineer opposed to a proposed wind farm in Co Meath claims the development has a “fundamentally unfair” planning procedure. He said there is no public involvement in the environmental-impact assessment.
All turbines at Screggagh Wind Farm Ltd near Fintona, Co Tyrone, were shut down after the turbine collapsed on January 2, scattering debris over a wide area. Winds were said to be light at the time.
Prof Evans said the construction of wind turbines in Ireland “is being sanctioned too close to human habitation. Because of its impulsive, intrusive, and sometimes incessant nature, the noise generated by wind turbines is particularly likely to disturb sleep."
The recommendation for Northern Ireland to revamp its whole approach to wind farms is “long overdue”, according to campaigners. They were reacting to a major report by Stormont’s environment committee this week, which called for a tightening up of planning rules around such developments.
Screggagh Windfarm confirmed yesterday that the fault was "concerning the wind turbine blade control system" of all those of a "similar generation". Campaigners had warned of "ticking time bombs" as dozens of 200ft wind turbines identical to the stricken model remained in operation across Ireland.
It was understood that at the time of the collapse the rotor blades spun out of control despite normal weather conditions with “medium” wind speeds measuring about 10 or 12 metres per second. Some witnesses described the crash as an explosion that could be heard up to seven miles away,
They experience the flicker in the whole house, said Byrne, who lives there with his wife and children. “Even if you’re in a room with closed blinds. The whole house flickers black. It’s every two seconds for about 20 minutes.”
While the crashing to earth of turbines might have damaged wind energy’s image, opposition is much more deep-seated and points to environmental, societal and health impacts and questions the economic benefits, writes Noel Baker.
Local resident and spokesman for the Barna Wind Action Group, Michael O’Donovan, from Moneygoff East, said residents have wide-ranging concerns about the the project, on which a decision is expected to be made by the planning authorities early next month.
Cllr Pat Nugent told a meeting of Lismore-Dungarvan Municipal District Council that householders, some 1.2km from the site, had recorded noise levels above 75 decibels, almost twice those permitted under planning regulations.
The HSA informed The Kerryman this week that it is engaged in 'ongoing' talks with the company behind the crippled turbine, but as of yet has not been able to definitively establish what caused the blade to come off the hub.
The Health and Safety Authority is investigating how a blade became unattached from its turbine and fell to the ground at a Co Kerry wind farm.