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Nearly half of North’s wind farm plans focus on West Tyrone  

Credit:  Ulster Herald | April 26, 2013 | ulsterherald.com ~~

Almost half of all wind farm planning applications in Northern Ireland are located in the West Tyrone constituency.

To date, 48 planning applications have been submitted for wind farms in the Omagh and Strabane district council areas.

That is 40-percent of all applications that have been submitted in the North.

The figures were released by the Minister of the Environment, Alex Attwood, in the Stormont chamber on Monday following a question by West Tyrone MLA, Barry McElduff.

The local politician said, “These statistics beg the question if West Tyrone has been saturated with wind farm applications?

“If so, there must become a point where West Tyrone has reached its limit of wind farm developments.”

Mr McElduff continued, “There is concern growing that West Tyrone is becoming the wind farm garden of the North of Ireland. Residents are making strong objections on medical and environmental grounds.

“There needs to be conclusive evidence produced by the Department of Environment on these issues.

“I support renewable energy but how it is done and its scale in specific areas like West Tyrone must be reviewed.”

In response to local lobbying, Mr McElduff asked the minister for his assessment of the scale and proliferation of wind farms in West Tyrone.

IMPACT

Mr Attwood responded, “I thank the Member for the question, which touches on a point that is beginning to emerge more acutely in Derry and Tyrone in particular.

“Issues are arising with potential new advice on noise and certainly on cumulative impact. I keep that under very close watch, given that more and more questions are being asked.

“That said, two conclusions also need to be borne in mind. First, as I keep saying, renewables are Ireland’s biggest economic opportunity.

“We should be minded to embrace the opportunity for self-sufficiency in electricity.

“Secondly, it seems to me that community benefits need to be built in to the planning system to ensure that the benefits, whether from renewable applications or other significant applications, go to the community.

“So the DOE and Community Places are organising a community benefit summit for the first week in June to try to ensure that, while we deal with concerns about wind farms, more and more benefits go to local citizens and communities because of them.”

Source:  Ulster Herald | April 26, 2013 | ulsterherald.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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