West Clare councillors have called on Clare County Council’s planning department to cease the granting of permission for the construction of onshore wind farms in the area.
Tabled by Cllr Ian Lynch (IND), the proposal cited the “current density, short and long term disruption to communities, the destruction of habitat, and the ability of offshore energy production to more than meet the needs of Ireland’s energy demands” as he urged the local authority to stop granting planning permission for onshore wind farms in the West Clare Municipal District.
Acting senior planner, Helen Quinn outlined that the assessment of a planning application is “an executive function”. She detailed that “it is not considered appropriate or legal, to impose a cessation on the granting of planning permissions for onshore wind farms”. The publication of new Wind Energy Guidelines at a national level are awaited by the Council.
Impact of wind farms is currently unknown, Cllr Lynch told a recent virtual sitting of the West Clare MD. “This isn’t an anti-Green motion, it is about protection of human habitats. These are becoming a problem. We as a Council have backed the off-shore windfarm at Moneypoint, is there any point anymore in developing the intensity of these on-shore windfarms. I accept that it is an executive function and not something we can change through motion”.
Implementing the motion was labelled as “absolutely essential” by Cllr Susan Crawford (GP). “I really think we have to respect the populations where an excess of windfarms are going into and they are not community driven, they are dividing communities which is horrendous. So many families made the decision to stay and live where they are because of the peace and tranquillity of the area, we have to respect them. I really think we have to give voice to everyone in this regard”.
Cathaoirleach of the West Clare MD, Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) believed the areas has already played its part in the generation of on-shore wind. “The less contentious places have been used up and we’re now moving into a space of higher propensity for dispute with more populated areas”. Lynch’s motion should be included as a recommendation for the County Development Plan, Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) felt.