Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Energy Michael Moynihan has said Fianna Fáil is committed to establishing a legislative framework for our future energy infrastructure which will build community consensus and respect the concerns of the public.
Deputy Moynihan said: “The planned construction of wind turbines and pylons has created great concern and fear amongst local communities in Ireland. Fianna Fáil has put forward a number of policy ideas in order to address community concerns while also ensuring that strategic infrastructure is constructed to the highest international standard.
“In order to address the concerns of local communities surrounding the planning and construction of strategic infrastructure it is vital that the outdated planning guidelines are replaced with updated guidelines. These should also be put on a national legislative footing. Current plans for significant wind energy expansion and grid development as contained in Grid 25 should be subject to a full economic review. These projects should also be reviewed taking into account their impact on energy prices and their long term sustainability in supplying the Irish national grid.”
Fianna Fáil has also proposed the following actions in order to gain community acceptance of wind energy projects:
- Ensure all county development plans have a wind energy strategy which has been submitted for public consultation in advance of any wind turbine construction in that county.
- Introduce a minimum distance restriction on wind turbines from residential properties. Wind turbines will be kept a distance of six times the height of the wind turbine away from residential property.
- Introduce a new community share options scheme on proposed wind farms where the local community must be given the option of purchasing a minimum of 20% ownership of wind farms in their area, creating a sustainable wealth source for the local community.
- Introduce a new compensation provision for properties with a decreased property value as a result of the construction of the wind turbines.
- Introduce new noise and shadow flicker restrictions which reflect international best practice.
- Examine the potential of increasing the number of off-shore wind farms in Ireland and map areas where this development could take place.
Deputy Moynihan added: “The Government is shortly to produce a White Paper on Energy which my party believes is a unique opportunity to outline a clear roadmap to maximise all renewable energy sources into the future. We can create new employment opportunities and improve our energy security. Ireland is still excessively dependent on energy importation to power homes and businesses. This is a risky position for the country and could seriously impact on the economy into the future. However it is essential that the Government works with communities and seeks to build consensus, particularly where external energy companies are involved in infrastructure development.”