Donegal Co. Council is calling on the Minister for the Environment to immediately introduce a ban on the granting of planning permission to any new wind farm developments until a full review of the current legislation and guidelines is carried out.
Cllr. Gary Doherty said that wind farm developments are a huge issue in Donegal.
He pointed out that the planning guidelines for wind farm developments were brought in back in 2006, and are now outdated.
He pointed out that the scale of wind farms has increased considerably since in terms of height and output, but there has been no movement from the government in terms of new guidelines.
Consequently he felt they should bring in a moratorium.
In 2006 new turbines were typically of around 40 metres in height with a generating capacity of less than one megawatt. In recent times, planning permission has been sought for turbines up to 60 metres high and with a generating capacity of up to 3 Mw.
“The guidelines as they stand are not fit for purpose,” he contended.
He felt there should be no more planning permissions granted for wind farms until the new guidelines come in.
Cllr. Marie Therese Gallagher noted that this was the second time such a motion has come before the council.
Donegal Co. Council had wanted a minimum distance from turbines to homes increased from 500 metre to one kilometre.
However, despite the fact that new guidelines are meant to be coming in, the matter has been delayed.
“We were duped by the department and we were lied to by the department, “ she claimed.
She recalled how in 2011/2012 Donegal Co. Council was developing a county development plan and wanted to increase the distance between turbines and homes from 500m to 1,000 metres.
She recalled that management was told by the Department that new guidelines were imminent and that there was no need for the new updated county development plan guidelines.
“Now we are left in a situation where we have no support for our communities,” she continued. “It is not straight forward, the government are letting people and communities down.”
Arrangements will be now be made to forward the motion to the Minister for the Environment, Cllr. Doherty was told.
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