Wind turbine developments must be moved offshore in Ireland to copy the policy recently adopted in Norway, a county councillor told Donegal County Council today.
Cllr Seamus O Domhnaill was speaking on an emergency motion he brought to council today following the collapse of a turbine at Loughderryduff near Maas last month.
Cllr O Domhnaill asked council officials to summons the wind farm owners and the manufacturers Vestas to appear before councillors to address concerns.
He also called for new setback distances for all new turbines so that they were kept away from homes.
“Pictures on Donegal Daily showed the extent of the damage that was done when this turbine collapsed,” said Cllr O Domhnaill.
“I don’t wish to be alarmist but there are real concerns from many many people about this incident and there is a great concern if this were to happen again and a rotary blade from another wind farm was to come down and hit someone or crash into someone’s home.”
Cllr Marie Therese Gallagher (Sinn Fein) said: “I’m all for renewable energies but I don’t agree with it just at the expense of everything.
“The state should use all our natural resources and not private companies or private individuals. That is the debate that should be happening.
“The Nordic countries are decommissioning inshore farms and moving them off-shore. But we don’t have any regulations here in Ireland.”
Cllr John Campbell (independent) described the Loughderryduff collapse as ‘a catastrophic failure.’
He said the council should be given a copy of the Vestas investigation.
Cllr Terence Slowey (independent) said: “We need to know why this turbine fell down and it is our responsibility to be able to tell the public.
“The investigation needs to be given to the council and to the public. We need to be open and transparent.”
Cllr O Domhnaill said he wanted a ‘complete stay’ on all future planning applications on wind turbines until the findings of the investigation and until they meet the owners.
However County Manager Seamus Neely and director of planning Michael Heaney said they could not legally bring in a wholesale ban on planning applications for future turbines.
“We have to comply with planning laws,” said Mr Neely.
He said however that any lessons from the turbine collapse would be learned and could be included in future planning decisions. However he said that if the defects are outside the council’s area of responsibility ‘we will seek to influence it and work constructively’.
Cllr Campbell said however that Donegal council had given permission for the wind farm and therefore the council could not grant future permissions.
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