For the first time groups from all over Ireland including Co Donegal will be gathering to address the growing unease in communities around the expansion of wind farms across the country.
It is proposed that a new organisation be formed which will be called the Campaign for Responsible Engagement with Wind Energy (CREWE).
Fifteen community groups from as far away as Donegal and Cork will attend the first National Meeting in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon on the 16th June.
One of the organisers of the national gathering, Yvonne Cronin, said that for some time local communities have been concerned about “the lack of informed debate” around proposed wind energy developments.
The main concerns include the current wind energy guidelines which allow wind turbines taller than the Dublin Spire to be built only 500 metres from family homes.
The new grouping say a recent editorial in the British Medical Journal “clearly highlights the health implications associated with the noise of wind turbines for people who live close by.”
Said Yvonne: “Other concerns include the impact on our tourist landscapes and the lack of proper economic costing regarding wind energy. Prominent economist Colm McCarthy has predicted a potential ‘NAMA’ for wind farms and many people fear that wind turbines will go the same route as the empty housing estates which litter rural Ireland.”
Ms. Cronin said that communities were also concerned about “the lack of meaningful engagement” with local residents in the pre-planning stage of wind farm development.
The meeting will be opened by Senator John Kelly from Co. Roscommon. Senator Kelly has introduced the Wind Turbine Bill 2012 to the Seanad.
The Bill has been introduced to define minimum distances of turbines from family homes according to the height of wind turbines.
If this legislation is passed it would mean that the current generation of large wind turbines will have to be 1.5 kms from family homes.
Other speakers include Val Martin, Irish representative of the European Platform Against Wind Farms (www.epaw.org). Val has researched extensively the engineering and economic value of wind energy.
His presentation will be followed by a talk by Peter Crossan who is a spokesperson for a group that assists communities impacted by wind farm development.
Peter has a strong interest in planning and environmental matters associated with wind farms. Professor Alun Evans from Queen’s University Belfast will be the final speaker. Professor Evans co-wrote the March 2012 editorial of the peer reviewed British Medical Journal which describes research concerning the health concerns of living near wind turbines and concludes that the evidence points towards adverse health impacts.
The National meeting is to occur at the Percy French Hotel, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon at 2pm Saturday 16th June. A closed meeting to discuss the operation of the national organisation will occur at 4pm.
* Anyone interested in attending the meeting are welcome.
Knockalough Community Group
Tel. 087 2467 028
Mike de Jong Sliabh Ban Community Group