A proposed bill was discussed in the Seanad on 22 February last which will deal with a gap in the Irish legislation concerning the minimum distance of wind turbines to houses and farms.
Personally, I am amazed that little or no attention has been paid in the media in recent days to this initiative from Senator John Kelly that will have a major impact on the future quality of life of thousands of people living in rural Ireland.
Recently, we find that the planning of wind farms in the middle of local communities meets a lot of resistance.
This is not surprising considering that the main concerns in the planning process seem to be about wildlife, hydrology, geology and a whole range of issues that have very little to do with the day-to-day living of the local community.
People are genuinely concerned about the environment in which they live. They don’t want to live in the shadow of these enormous structures, which will destroy the view of the countryside, affect the value of their property and will lead to depopulation of the area where families have lived for generations. In most (draft) wind energy strategy documents, the living environment of the local people gets very little or no consideration.
Developers of wind farms have little regard for the local community. they just take into account the guideline for a minimum distance to housing of 500m. This guideline was made in the time that wind turbines were not more than 80m high. They are now often 135m and sometimes 155m high. this is higher than the Dublin Spire. Just imagine a structure that size beside your house!
Senator Kelly’s proposal deals with the minimum distance requirement for wind turbines from residential dwellings making the distance dependant from the height of the turbine. This means, for example, that for turbines with a height of 135m, the minimum distance requirement is 1,500m. This distance requirement varies from 500m to 2,000m for turbines over 150m high.
This initiative, which is in the committee stage at the moment, deserves the full support of the people of Ireland. it is very important that this bill will become law as it will ensure that future generations can still enjoy our beautiful countryside. This is the same countryside that we, together with our elected representatives in the counties and parliament, so carefully try to protect.
Albert van Beek, New Life, Carrowntaffirr, Dysart, Co Roscommon
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