Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Longford – Westmeath Cllr Joe Flaherty has called on the Government to publish new wind energy guidelines and ensure that the concerns of local communities are respected.
Cllr Flaherty made the comments after meeting representatives of the ‘No to Derryadd Windfarm’ campaign alongside Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment Timmy Dooley TD.
The current Wind Energy Development Guidelines were published in 2006 and offer advice to planning authorities on the planning for wind turbines. They do not take into account developments that have taken place in the industry in recent years.
Cllr Flaherty said, “It’s clear after meeting with representatives of this campaign that they have reasonable concerns that will have to be taken on board. I feel that these concerns have not been adequately addressed by the developers, particularly in relation to the possibility that the development could exacerbate the flooding problems in the area.
“Local people are also disappointed by the lack of engagement undertaken by Bord na Móna in relation to the project. This is something that both Timmy Dooley and I will be raising with the company. It’s important that the concerns raised by the local community are taken on board and dealt with in a comprehensive manner.
“There are serious issues with the current wind energy guidelines. They simply do not take on board many concerns that local communities have regarding proposals that have been put forward to build wind farms. The proposed Derryadd project is no different in this regard. The Government promised new guidelines to address these issues but no timeline has been given for their publication. The issue has been put on the backburner by Fine Gael.
“This is a serious situation as the delay in publishing the new guidelines means we are stuck with the old ones for the foreseeable future. Wind farm development proposals will continue to be considered under guidelines which are obsolete and are no longer fit for purpose, especially in view of the height of some of the new turbines which was never contemplated by the original 2006 guidelines.
“The Government needs to get its act together and publish new guidelines. “We cannot continue to have situations where windfarms are built in close proximity to people’s homes, schools and community centres,” concluded Cllr Flaherty.