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Call for radar, not red lights, for wind farms

Red lights glaring through the night atop wind turbines, to alert low-flying aircraft, should be replaced with a radar system, a county councillor in the Músraí Gaelacht has said.

Cllr Gobnait Moynihan has said the red lights on the turbines, which are very prevalent in the Múscraí Gaeltacht as well as in Duhallow and north Cork, have given rise to several complaints to her from people kept awake at night by the glare.

“These red lights light up the sky throughout the night, and it is interfering with local people who can’t get to sleep, or it’s bothering them in other ways,” said Cllr Moynihan.

“As well as that, it’s no great addition to the environment to see those red lights, and we know there’s a different way to do this.”

On the continent, a different method of alerting aircraft is used.

In Germany, in particular, wind-farm companies are obliged to install a special radar system, called the Aircraft/Aviation Detection Lighting System or ADLS, which only switches on the red light when the radar detects an aircraft within a designated range.

In other countries, this range is three miles at least.

Cllr Moynihan proposed a motion on the topic at a recent council meeting, and a letter has been sent to Environment Minister Eamon Ryan, calling on him to carry out a feasibility study on the possibility of introducing ADLS as a requirement for wind turbines.

A response from the Minister is awaited.