The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD has welcomed the decision to abandon plans to export electricity generated by midlands wind farms to Britain. He was speaking at a Committee meeting addressed by Minister Pat Rabbitte this afternoon.
Deputy Stanley said:
“I welcome the fact that project has been postponed, at least for the present. Unfortunately it would appear that the decision was made due to disagreement within the British Cabinet, rather than a response by the Minister to the wide opposition of many people to the industrial scale wind farms planned as part of the electricity project.
“Sinn Féin has published a Bill which would prevent any such exports proceeding until we have become self-sufficient in electricity generated from renewables. We would also wish to see any cheaper electricity generated used to address fuel poverty. We believe that this would make better economic sense. We also believe that too much emphasis is being placed on industrial scale wind farms to the detriment of developing other sources of renewable energy.
“The Minister has failed to provide a cost benefit analysis to show how it would benefit this country in terms of its own plans to generate electricity from renewable sources. There is also the issue of communities not wanting a project of this scale on their doorsteps. We have sought to address this in our Bill which would establish set back distances of ten times the height of turbines. We would also legislate to ensure that the Strategic Infrastructure Act could not override the democratically approved local development plans.”