March 9, 2015
Northern Ireland

Leading Stormont politician says West Tyrone turbines at ‘saturation point’

Ulster Herald | March 8, 2015 |

A leading Stormont politician has said the level of wind turbine development in West Tyrone is already at ‘saturation point.’

Anna Lo, who is chairperson of the Environment Committee, made the comment during a debate on wind energy earlier this week.

The Stormont debate heard that the Wind Energy Report had been inspired in part by the environment committee meeting in Omagh in June 2013. This event received a presentation from the Strabane and Omagh district councils and also from the campaign group, West Tyrone Against Wind Turbines. The site of a windfarm was also visited.

“The committee considered whether a strategic approach that advocated zoning or the identification of the most appropriate locations for wind turbines would be effective,” said Ms Lo.

“It was agreed, however, that it was too late to introduce zoning in Northern Ireland because some areas, notably West Tyrone, have already reached saturation point in the number of wind developments, either operational or planned for the region.”

She said that the committee believed that the requirement to notify neighbours who occupy buildings on land within 80 metres of the boundary of an application site was ‘inadequate’ for the latest wind turbines.

The environment committee is recommending that this distance is now reviewed.

Ms Lo also went on to agree with a point raised by TUV MLA, Jim Allister, that the turbine collapse between Fintona and Fivemiletown could have had a ‘catastrophic’ loss of life if it had occurred at one of the large ‘quasi-urban’ sites.

She said that the environment committee would be keeping a very close eye on the result of the investigation into the turbine collapse.

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