Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Ireland
In the current County Development Plan 546 square kilometres of land – the majority of it in north Kerry – is designated as suitable for wind turbines. If the new plan is approved by councillors this will be slashed to just 59 square kilometres. Council Management are also proposing to effectively recant its controversial 2012 Landscape Character Assessment of north Kerry which allowed for the erection of wind turbines across much of the region as it was deemed to have little or no scenic value.
One of these concerns relates to the suitability of certain areas for such developments in terms of the landscape or proximity to houses and farmland, other concerns involve the size of turbines and the environmental impact assessments. Sinn Féin TD for Kildare South Patricia Ryan said there needs to be progress on the publishing of revised guidelines, as the public consultation on these finished almost a year ago.
The meeting in Mountmellick heard concerns about the height of the turbines, the noise they make and the flicker effect on nearby dwellings. Health and safety of the people in the surrounding areas was also high on the agenda. A number of people said the company did not consult widely and that a booklet distributed to some residents contained information “not conveying the true state of serious side effects from such monstrosities”.
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.
“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.
“What the Government is looking at, at the moment, if we fail to reach our targets for 2020, which we will, is paying out anything between €400m and €600m to the European Commission in fines because we failed to reach our renewable energy targets,” he said.
More significantly, the drafted proposals also retain the mandatory minimum setback distance of 500m for wind turbine construction near residential homes, something Fitzmaurice does not think will sit well with local communities. “People won’t stand for what they are proposing and won’t accept the 500m setback area. I would expect people to lodge a submission against them,” He continued.
The proposed wind farm comprises 38 turbines with a hub height of up to 80 metres, each with a 2.5 -3.5 (MW) rating, on foundations and standings. The turbines will have a rotor diameter of up to 112 metres. The overall height of the structures will be up to 126 meters.
It's now emerged the Irish Wind Energy Association has warned the Taoiseach that projects in his own constituency of Mayo will be jeopardised if the current set-back standard is changed.
Minister of State for Planning Jan O’Sullivan has used her powers to direct Westmeath County Council to remove restrictions on wind farm developments in its county development plan, which was adopted in January. Under the plan, wind farm developers would have been required to implement a setback distance for new turbines from houses of 10 times the overall height of the turbine.
A proposed wind farm at Drumsurn in County Londonderry has split the community, Limavady's mayor has said. Gaeletric want to erect seven turbines at Smulgedon due to the wind speeds. ...The town's Mayor, Brenda Chivers of Sinn Fein, said: "We're hoping to get all the parties around a table and solve this."
The developer of one of the most ambitious wind farm developments in Ireland has expressed frustration at the planning process for renewable energy projects. Brian Britton is co-founder and managing director of Oriel Windfarm, which hopes to build an offshore wind farm with 55 turbines off the north-east coast close to Dundalk. The project has been under development for four years and is at the final stage of the planning process.
Permission for a £15 million wind farm near the Vee Gap scenic drive in the Knockmeal down Mountains has been refused by An Bord Pleanala.