Wicklow Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady has welcomed the news that the government will not oppose the Wind Turbine Legislation Bill that Sinn Féin has proposed. The Bill if enacted will see strict regulation of the location and operation of wind farms. The Bill that would replace the existing guidelines with a statutory provision for setback distances of ten times the height of a wind turbine.
The legislation would also prevent electricity generated from wind being exported before Ireland achieves its targets in renewable energy.
Councillor Brady said “Wind farms have become a huge cause of concern here in Wicklow and the proposal for industrial scale wind farms has generated massive debate and a lot of local opposition. We have seen applications for turbines of a height and size never seen before in this country. Many people are frightened by the prospect of huge turbines being erected in their hundreds and the impact that would have on the landscape and potentially on the quality of people’s lives. Due to the concerns of the public in Wicklow a review of the County Council Development Plan is ongoing and a council meeting will take place on April 28th to discuss the proposed amendments to the plan.
“We clearly need planning regulations that are fit for purpose and are mandatory rather than voluntary or suggestions. One of the key proposals in this Bill that the government has stated it will not oppose is that there is a minimum setback distance of ten times the height of the turbines. All proposed wind farms must also comply with and be consistent with County Development plans, and that they cannot be over ridden by the Strategic Infrastructure Act of 2006. Wind farms must be located in areas zoned by local councillors.
“While the export of electricity from wind and other renewable sources has a lot of potential for this country in the future, we should be reducing our own dependency on imported fossil fuels, before we go down that road. This Bill will also prevent electricity generated from wind being exported before Ireland achieves its targets in renewable energy. There is huge opposition to Wind Farms in the UK and we can’t allow Ireland to become blighted with wind turbines solely to supply the UK market” concluded Brady. Ends