I refer to Frank McDonald’s article (Home News, April 9th) on Senator John Kelly’s Wind Turbines Bill 2012. Despite the Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan’s concerns regarding the need to “consider the practicality of introducing binding legislation” for this area, Senator Kelly’s proposal is timely.
Shortly after wind turbines began to be erected close to dwellings, complaints emerged of adverse effects on health. Sleep disturbance was the principal complaint. These reports are commonly dismissed as subjective and anecdotal but there is now a growing body of scientific and medical evidence detailing these issues. Last month the British Medical Journal published a peer-reviewed editorial on “wind turbine noise”. The editorial is very clear about the health risks and calls for an independent review of existing evidence and guidance on acceptable noise levels. It also calls on governments to ensure that the public will not suffer harm from additional ambient noise that results from the inappropriate siting of turbines.
Despite this emerging evidence, proposals in the Donegal County Development Plan to set a modest 1km set-back distance between homes and turbines, unless the homeowner consents otherwise, have drawn a sharp response from the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) with claims that such a restriction would be “excessive and unnecessary.”
While IWEA has every right to lobby on behalf of its members the protection of public health must be considered in Ireland’s push for energy independence. Therefore, I echo Senator David Norris’s call in relation to the siting of turbines and in supporting the Bill; “could we please have respect for [our] neighbours.” – Yours, etc,
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