Brian Stanley TD to bring forward Bill to regulate Wind Turbines
Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson Brian Stanley TD is to bring a Bill before the Dáil this week to regulate windfarms and to ensure that the industry develops with community engagement and legal protection for rural communities.
Speaking today at the National Ploughing Championships, Brian Stanley said that wind farms had been a source of deep conflict in rural areas and that Sinn Féin was focussed on offering solutions to the issue.
Deputy Stanley said:
“Six Ministers and two Governments have failed to resolve this issue.
“Wind is undoubtedly part of the answer to Ireland’s energy needs but the State needs to avoid putting all its eggs in one basket.
“Vested interests have sought to cover counties such as Laois and Offaly with wind turbines. Myself and my Sinn Féin colleague Carold Nolan TD have resisted this fiercely and will continue to do so.
"Tomorrow evening (Thursday) I will bring before the Dáil a Wind Turbine Regulation Bill. This is an opportunity for TDs from Fianna Fáil and Labour to get off the fence on this issue and to join Sinn Féin in standing up for communities in rural Ireland.
“Sinn Féin is the first political party to put forward legislation giving firm legal protections for rural communities across the State in relation to the siting of wind farms.
“This Bill aims to ensure that development of wind energy is achieved with the direct input of local communities.
“It includes a minimum setback distance of not less than 10 times the height of any wind turbine. Setback distances should be such that noise does not exceed limits specified by the World Health Organisation.
“Turbines should be located in areas designated by democratically elected councillors in county development plans and there should be optional co-ownership for local residents.
“Renewable energy development is urgently needed but it is also vital that we create diverse renewable energy sources. Offshore wind, biomass and biogas are extremely and unacceptably underdeveloped.
“Clean, green forms of indigenous energy must be further harnessed to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and this can and must be done with the involvement of local communities.
“I hope TD's from all parties will avail of this opportunity to protect rural communities and move forward with a proper regulatory framework for wind turbines. I would appeal to all TDs to support the Bill.”