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Revised Wind Farm Guidelines will do nothing

category national | environment | press release author Thursday December 12, 2013 10:32author by foie - Friends of the Irish Environmentauthor email admin at friendsoftheirishenvironment dot orgauthor phone Tel & Fax: 353 (0)27 74771 Report this post to the editors

PRESS RELEASE - Friends of the Irish Environment -11 December 2013

The revised wind guidelines published today by the Minister for Environment do not address most of the key issues concerning windfarms and fail to provide any detail on the single issue of noise and flicker they do address

The document is described as a ‘work in progress’, with the details of noise yet to be settled.

These ‘details’ include special locations, the impact of cumulative noise, the noise prediction methods to be used, the inspection and monitoring regime on foot of complaints under EU regulations and any remedial actions. In fact, it is the type of insidious noise that is the issue for residents more than the level, which is all these Guidelines address.

Our organisation has been overwhelmed with requests for help from the public faced with these developments in their backyards, partly because of the lax planning policy over the last 20 years makes it difficult to find locations where there are not now dwellings.

While many people would accept one well-sited wind farm, in many cases the entire rural landscape is being transformed around them into huge industrial developments that are entirely inappropriate, often in remote, scenic upland areas that can also represent the last refuge of our wildlife. Because many of our uplands are composed of peat soils, these are being drained, with damage to wildlife, pollution to local watercourses and loss of Ireland’s unique carbon storage.

In one case we are assisting residents in an appeal where a previous An Bord Pleanala appeal decision reduced the number of turbines proposed from 210 to 180. Yet a new application granted by the Council was for an additional 48 turbines, even more than were previously removed by the Board. [Cluddaun WInd Farm, Co Mayo]. The size of the turbines has also increased dramatically, requiring larger and larger bases, service roads and disturbance through construction.

Because of the Government’s blinkered support of windfarms to meet our alternative energy quota by 2020, other methods of power generation through more secure sources such as wave, water and biomass have been starved of funding.

These Guidelines change nothing and will do nothing to address the fundamental questions of Ireland’s need for sustainable renewable energy.

Verification and comments:

Tony Lowes

Editors notes:

The indicative list of matters to be considered in Appendixes to come include

Noise sensitive locations and representative locations
Cumulative Noise Guidelines on the way you assess noise (Noise survey methodology)
the data and modelling requirements for wind turbine noise assessment.
noise prediction methods;
Special Audible Characteristics;
Commissioning Requirements;
monitoring and compliance regime post construction;
Commissioning report on noise levels.
Compliance noise surveys during life of wind farm.
Remediation measures to be implemented if non- compliance is found. • Complaints
The inspectiojh and monitoring regine under EU regulations (RMCEI10).
Monitoring post commissioning (To be agreed with LA and time frame).
Monitoring on foot of complaints (To be agreed with LA and time frame).
Remedial actions (Time frame and measures needed).

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