Over 5,000 people marched on Dublin city centre yesterday, to protest against proposed wind turbines and pylons, which organisers say was a success.
The march, from Parnell Square to Government buildings on Kildare St., came after a proposed plan to export wind energy from a midlands wind farm to the UK collapsed this week. Demonstrators yesterday said politicians were not listening to them, but the march would draw national attention to the issues.
According to the Ray Conroy, of the Laois Wind Energy Awareness Group: ”Our local group is indicative of all the local groups, we are in the eye of the storm with wind turbines and pylons. Its hugely contentious issue. It is only the in last week the Minister said the export project is dead, so it has defused the issue temporally. But it must be remembered it is dead because the UK Government stopped it.”
“There are land options signed up around us and they are valid for 10 years, be it for the national grid or export. They put a blight on the entire area, that is our main concern. Nationally, there has to be engagement with people affected by these massive infrastructure.”
On the ITTCC report on climate change Conroy commented: “We can’t kill our environment to save our environment. We’re not ‘not in my back yard’ (NIMBY’s) – everyones backyard is affected by it. There has to be engagement at local level.”
He also said the deal for farmers is not as good as it may seem. “The deal for the land owners is to get up to €18,000-€23,000 per turbine per annum. It sounds good, but when you drill down into it, it’s all taxable and affects CAP payments as its no longer agricultural land, it’s industrial. The land owner has no say, where on the land they are put. They say its 1ha of land per turbine, but they have to put roads into them too.”
Looking ahead Conroy noted: “Hopefully, its dead in the water, but the contracts still exist. We are stuck in the middle of an industrial zone if these companies get their way.”