Motion to Vary Kildare County Development Plan to Restrict Wind Farm Development

In a move replicating motions which have been passed by Westmeath and Offaly County Councils, Kildare County Council Labour Councillors have tabled a motion which seeks to vary the county development plan to include new policy restrictions on wind farm development.

The following motion in relation to wind farm development has been tabled:

“Councillors Browne, Byrne, Purcell, McGinley and Wall

That the council vary the Kildare County Development Plan 2011-2017; 18.9 Energy and Communications and 18.9.1 Wind Energy Proposals, to include the following:

–          A minimum set-back from a residence of 10 times the height of the turbine, where the turbine exceeds 100 metres. 

–          Any proposal must show consideration for its impact on indigenous industries within the county and any impact, if any, such a proposal might have.

–          Any proposal must consider the potential impact on the health and welfare, if any, of those living in the vicinity of the proposed development.”

This motion will come before the Full Council at the Council meeting on Monday 21st October.

‘South Kildare Against Spin’, a local group who have formed to tackle proposed new wind farm development in the south of the county, have urged support for the Labour Party Motion and have called on all members of Kildare County Council, irrespective of party affiliation, to support the above motion stating that:-<img title
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“The Current Development Plan for County Kildare is wide open to exploitation by Wind Energy Developers, as it does not stipulate any minimum set backs from homes or designate specific areas suitable for wind farms. In addition, the development plan ignores the enormous impact industrial wind farms would have on the thoroughbred industry, a significant employer in Kildare. These omissions leave Kildare vulnerable to uncontrolled wind farm development, without consideration of the potential impact on health, housing or the bloodstock industry”.

South Kildare Against Spin are currently engaged in a door to door canvas of areas which could be affected by wind farms noting that

“The failure of the companies involved to engage with local communities is nothing short of scandalous. Despite numerous requests, no consultations have taken place.  Placing giant industrial wind turbines in close proximity to people is, quiet simply, wrong.  One company, Element Power has stated that it plans to erect 150 wind turbines, each 185 metres high in County Kildare. They go on to state that the entire project will be six times larger than the largest offshore windfarm in the UK” [http://goo.gl/naQgfe].

It will be interesting to see what weight a variation of this nature will have as any planning application is likely to be made directly to An Bord Pleanala under the Strategic Infrastructure Development process.  Unlike local authorities the Board are not bound by county development policy and tend to place more emphasis on national policy as laid down in ministerial guidelines.  The Minister for Energy has recently instructed new guidelines to be prepared in respect of wind farms for energy export. See post in irishplanningnews.ie http://irishplanningnews.ie/renewable-energy-export-policy-to-be-addressed/

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