Written answers

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Wind Energy Development

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if the Irish wind industry rules can be updated to protect residents from the known nuisance of the low frequency noise as some counties have a limit of 20dB on lfn. [57597/12]

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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The existing Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Wind Energy Development (published by the Department of Environment in 2006), state that in general, noise is unlikely to be a significant problem where the distance from the nearest turbine to any noise sensitive property is more than 500 metres. The Guidelines also advise planning authorities to seek evidence that the types of turbines proposed in a particular development will use best current engineering practice in terms of noise creation and suppression and provide quite specific limits in the permissible increases in noise above background noise from wind energy developments in order to protect neighbouring properties.

In order to ensure that Ireland continues to meet its renewable energy targets and at the same time ensure that wind energy does not impact negatively on local communities, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government – in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources – will undertake a targeted review of certain aspects of the Wind Energy Guidelines 2006. It is not clear at this point that low frequency noise is a particular issue, but as part of the focused review of the guidelines, noise will be one of the topics examined. It is intended that the Departments would consult fully with a wide range of stakeholders including An Bord Pleanála, the Environmental Protection Agency, industry and community groups, as part of this review process. The focussed review is expected to report by end-2013.


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