Monday, 22 March 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
All political parties have indicated their support for wind energy targets to reduce our carbon footprint in their party manifestos over a long number of years. In dealing with communities in my part of the world in Connemara and Galway, concerns have been expressed at various stages at the whole concept, when a project is first mooted, at the planning stage and at the construction stage. Issues have also arisen post-operation, including shadow flicker and noise.
The wind energy development guidelines were put out for consultation in December 2019 as part of the strategic environmental assessment of the project and more than 500 submissions have been received. The review into the guidelines includes key aspects such as sound and noise, visual amenity, amenity set-back distances, shadow flicker, community obligation, community dividend and grid connections.
Fáiltím roimh an t-athbhreithniú ar threoirlínte d'fhuinneamh gaoithe atá idir lámha faoi láthair ach tá an próiseas an-mhall. Bíonn imní ar phobail nuair a beartaítear plean d'fheirm gaoithe. Faoi láthair, tá imní i gceantar an Bhóthair Bhuí in Indreabhán faoi phlean chun feirm gaoithe a thógáil gar do thithe. Tá sé in am treoirlínte feiliúnacha a leagan síos ó thaobh achar ó tithe go dtí tuirbín gaoithe. Tá na tuirbíní ag fáil níos airde agus ba cheart treoirlínte nua a chur i bhfeidhm.
So much of our community, particularly on the west coast where we have the highest wind speeds, includes lands designated as special areas of conservation, SACs, and natural heritage areas, NHAs. It is now time to look at whether some of these lands could be used for wind turbines, subject to site specificity. These could be in areas identified and zoned in the county development plans and the wind strategies to allow for greater set-back distances for current and future homes. Some communities are particularly concerned, as wind turbines grow higher and taller, about the impact they will have on their homes and their children's ability to get planning permission. I ask the Leader for a debate with the Minister, Deputy Ryan, on the whole issue of renewable energy and the processes and practices around it.