Wind Energy was a hot topic during discussion of the Draft Wicklow County Development Plan 2016-2022 in Wicklow County Chambers after a proposal was tabled by Cllr Shay Cullen that wind farms should be at least 1,000m away from residential dwellings.
‘Whilst I am in favour of renewable and green energy, we must as public representatives listen to and represent the concerns of the public. Wind farms, whilst on paper seem to be a logical way to go about generating renewable energy, but there is a cost to communities that are located in or beside wind farms, and I believe that these communities have to be listened to and helped,’ he said.
Cullen outlined the health concerns surrounding wind turbines and said that nobody wants to live next to them.
‘We would never consider placing commercial wind turbines close to an urban setting but we are willing to place them close to rural homes and as far as I am concerned, this is unacceptable. It is well documented recently in the media that there are serious health concerns with regarding to wind turbines. There is also visual flicker, there is noise pollution, there is disturbance to wildlife habitats, concern over the impact on rural landscape, negative impact on tourism, devaluing family homes, a little bit like pylons, nobody wants a wind turbine beside their home because it virtually leaves it that it’s unsaleable,’ he said.
Cllr Pat Kennedy supported the proposal and said that 1,000 metres is a ‘realistic distance’.
‘These commercial developments on the tops of mountains in rural areas are causing stress, division and the splitting of rural communities and families and I fully support what Cllr Cullen has put forward here today.’
European energy targets which Ireland is obliged to meet, was a point raised by Cllr Derek Mitchell who questioned if a compensation scheme is open to those who would see windfarms built near their homes.
‘We do have an objective to meet in terms of energy and we have very substantial wind assets here which other countries don’t have. Obviously if it’s beside your house, it’s a problem. We do have other things that go through rural areas for national objectives, such as motorways, and there is a scheme of compensating people who have motorways next to them.’
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