Local Deputy introduces Bill to regulate Wind Farms
Laois, Offaly and the Midlands need proper regulation of wind farms – Deputy Stanley
Laois-Offaly TD Brian Stanley has today introduced the ‘Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2020’.
Speaking in the Dáil earlier today, Deputy Stanley said:
“There is a role for wind energy in the future of Ireland’s renewable energy sector and we need to put in place sensible regulations to facilitate its development.
“But across the Midlands, and in particular Laois/Offaly, windfarms have been constructed without any regulations or even up to date guidelines.
“In both Laois and Offaly, massive turbines have been erected and in some cases very close to dwelling houses.
“This is an area which has been of particular interest of mine for many years now.
“I first introduced a Bill in 2014 to provide for the regulation of wind turbine development and I followed that up with a subsequent piece of legislation in 2016. Today is now my 3rd attempt in almost 7 years to have progress made regarding a very important issue.
“Our Bill seeks to introduce practical regulations that can be implemented to allow wind farms to be located in the correct places. It also deals with what we should do with any excess product and it establishes opportunities for community involvement through public consultation in the planning permission phase and part ownership.
“Our bill attempts to introduce some common sense to the set back distance debate. We’re proposing a distance of ten times the height of the turbine to the tip of the blade. Noise levels will be within the WHO limits and shadow flicker from a propeller will not be permitted to pass over a house.
“Crucially, it gives back power to local authorities and councillors which was taken away by the Critical Infrastructure Act removed their power to zone land for wind farm development and for local authorities to deal with the planning applications.
“We need to involve local communities in the development of wind turbine production to avoid conflict and resistance from the areas impacted. In line with practices across Europe, our Bill provides local communities within 4km the opportunity to buy shares in the project and to receive a dividend. This could provide great financial assistance to disadvantaged rural areas.
“It is very unfortunate that consecutive governments have chosen to ignore the issue wind farms. I have been pursuing this matter since 2014 because I believe there are some very simple, common sense changes which can be made to help local communities and to support the sector develop properly.
“I ask the all parties read the Bill and I hope that members can recognise the need for legislation here and support the Bill.”