The Department of the Environment has clashed with Donegal environmentalists over a consultation study on the impacts of wind farms.
The Gweebarra Conservation Group had claimed that residents affected by wind farms and who were suffering health problems could email the Department which is conducting a review of rules surrounding wind farms.
The group says people suffering from ‘Wind Farm Syndrome’ could and should tell the Department.
A Department spokesman told Donegal Daily: “The Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government has initiated an open and transparent public consultation process on certain technical aspects of the 2006 guidelines and anybody or any other interested parties are entitled to make submission under this process.
“All submissions received under the process will be considered. We are not conducting an investigation in Donegal or any other county for that matter; we are engaged in a process to encourage the public or any other interested parties to participate in the process and get their point of view across whatever that might be.”
So the Department says it will study all submissions – including from people who have suffered health problems.
But it won’t investigate any of those claims.
In a strange intervention over the Gweebarra group’s claim, a group representing the powerful wind farm businesses then issued the following statement.
Kenneth Matthews from the Irish Wind Energy Association said: “I wish to respond to inaccuracies made about wind energy in your piece “Revealed: Government Investigating ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ in Donegal”, published on 14 February 2013 on your website.
“IWEA believes that your article was a misrepresentation of the current Public Consultation underway by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government concerning the planning guidelines for wind farm developments. This is a focused and specific consultation in which all interested stakeholders were invited to put forward their views on any updates required to a number of sections of the current guidelines including noise and shadow flicker.
“The consultation has no remit to undertake canvassing of individual counties, such as Donegal, as your article suggests. This is a misleading suggestion that the Department has been involved in such activities when the consultation did not contain any provisions to undertake such a canvass.
“IWEA welcomes the opportunity afforded by the Department for all stakeholders to participate in this consultation. It is extremely important that unfounded allegations are addressed and the reality of what the consultation is seeking to do be stated.”
So the Department IS reviewing the guidelines surrounding wind farm development.
And the Department HAS taken submissions from people who say they have suffered health problems as a result of wind farms.
Donegal has been ear-marked for hundreds more wind turbines, including one near Glenswilly National School.
Last night Sinn Fein said it was backing wind farms across Ireland. The party also said communities should be consulted.
Donegal Daily does not accept the claims from the IWEA that our report from the Gweebarra Conservation Group was in any way inaccurate.
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