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Claims of wind farm secrecy deals denied

The chief executive of one of the two private companies bidding to export wind energy from the Irish midlands to the UK national grid has denied claims that landowners who sign up to the project are being asked to sign secrecy or confidentiality clauses.

Element Power Ireland Chief Executive Tim Cowhig said none of the farmers who have signed up to locate a turbine on their lands were bound by confidentiality.

He was speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke programme.

Mr Cowhig was responding to claims made by Labour Senator John Whelan, who was also speaking on RTÉ Radio.

Mr Whelan said farmers who signed up to such turbines in counties Westmeath, Laois and Offaly, and elsewhere in the midlands, were unable to speak at public gatherings or comment on planning issues due to the constraints of the agreements they had signed.

Element Power Ireland is bidding to develop its “Green Wire Project”, which would see around 40 individual wind farms developed across five midland counties.

The plan would see around 750 turbines, with the tallest reaching up to 185 meters tall.

Mr Cowhig said there was “a lot of misinformation” about the export project.

Senator Whelan is one of a number of Oireachtas members calling on the Government to introduce strict new guidelines on the location of wind farms near residential properties.

The Department of Environment is currently reviewing submissions on the formation of new wind energy guidelines.