Sinn Féin will use its Private Members time this week to table the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014 for second stage debate.
This bill deals with the construction of industrial wind turbines, set back distances from properties and the use of energy generated from these wind turbines.
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Brian Stanley said:
“This bill attempts to impose proper regulation of all aspects of wind turbine construction. This includes proper zoning of areas for wind turbine developments, the duties of planning authorities, setback distances and the responsibility of decommissioning wind turbines.
“The Critical Infrastructure Act 2006, rammed through the Dáil by Fianna Fáil, can be used at present to override County Development Plans made by democratically elected councillors. Our Bill restores the primacy of County Development Plans in that Wind Farms must be located only in areas zoned by local councillors. Wind Farm projects must be consisted with County Development Plans.
“Many residents in the midlands have been rightly concerned about proper setback distances for wind turbines from property. This bill seeks to impose a setback distance of ten times the height of the turbine from any dwelling for turbines which are higher than 25 metres.
“Proper regulation should have been in place already but this bill seeks to rectify the mistakes made by the current and the previous government.”
“It is important that there is correct management of renewable energy produced in Ireland. Ireland has binding targets for renewable energy that it must reach by 2020.
“The fact is that Ireland still produces most of its energy demands from imported fossil fuels. Any renewable energy that is produced in Ireland should go to lessen the fuel bills that many households find a burden. This bill seeks to ensure that Irelands energy demands are met prior to renewable energy being exported.”
“Proper planning is essential for developments in rural Ireland. The government cannot ignore the concerns of local communities who have concerns over the development of wind turbines.
“This bill seeks to address many of the concerns and it is our hope that the government accepts it. There are also concerns surrounding farmers who have signed contracts with wind energy companies.
“There must be clarity surrounding land access and land use and the farming community must be made fully aware of the consequences of signing contracts with energy companies.”