The Wind Turbine Action Group (South Roscommon) has welcomed the decision by Roscommon County Council to withdraw the draft wind energy strategy awaiting a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment.
The group believes that this is particularly important because it feels that the indication of most favoured areas for wind energy in the draft strategy did not take enough notice of other factors like the value of the landscape and wind speed.
In particular, the group states that indicating large areas in the county as most favoured for wind energy did not sufficiently take into account the recommendations of the Woodrow report, written for the Roscommon County Council administration. In this report all kind of recommendations were made in order to protect birds and bats identified in Natura 2000 sites.
The group claimed this report, together with the Strategic Environmental Assessment screening report and the Habitats Directive screening report were only made available to the public and the councillors after the closing date of public consultation on the draft strategy.
The Wind Turbine Action Group South Roscommon group is also of the opinion that more attention should be paid to the living conditions of people in local communities.
“These huge wind farm developments will destroy traditional Irish country side, where people have lived and worked for generations. It is important that in the strategy a minimum distance, depending on the height of the turbines is introduced. This will mean for the turbines of 135 metres high, currently proposed in South Roscommon, that a minimum distance of 2000 metres to a house or farm will be included in the strategy,” the group said.
In any wind strategy, the group said there should also be stipulations regarding financial guarantees for the de-commissioning of wind turbines when they are at the end of their life span.
“This will prevent that our children will end up with unwanted ghost estates of wind turbines in the future,” it added.