Review of Windfarm Noise Guidelines Welcomed


The Glenties Windfarm Information Group has cautiously welcomed the public call for submissions as part of the review of the Wind Energy Guidelines (2006).  The review is focused upon creating adequate safeguards to mitigate against the negative impact of noise and shadow-flicker from windfarms on neighbouring properties and homes.  


Noise and shadow-flicker major issues

Spokesperson for the Glenties group, Mr. Ernan O’Donnell advised that “noise and shadow-flicker are issues of particular concern to our members and formed a significant element of our submissions to the Straboy oral hearing last October.  The expert evidence of Dr. Christopher Hanning, on noise and health and Mr. Dick Bowdler, on noise assessment provided at that time clearly demonstrate the failings of the current guidelines to protect public health and underline the inability of local authorities, including Donegal County Council, to adequately assess the noise impacts of windfarm developments.”  


Larger turbines now encroaching on built up areas

These issues are compounded by the increasing size of turbines and the encroachment of proposed windfarm developments closer to residential areas.  Mr. O’Donnell pointed to the recent Donegal County Council decision to grant permission for sixteen, almost 500ft (152m) turbines at Newmills, outside Letterkenny as such an example.  Our group is being contacted, almost daily, by new windfarm neighbours seeking our support on how to effectively appeal against such decisions, he confirmed.  


Lessons learned

The Glenties group also point to the incredible decision of Donegal County Council to eliminate the 500m setback distance between individual turbines and homes in the revised, Donegal County Development Plan - 2012-18.  This decision was taken at a council meeting, in June 2012, following a proposal from Cllr. Terence Slowey, and despite almost half of the public submissions received on the revised plan requesting that a 2km setback be adopted in line with international best practice.  


Mr. O’Donnell advised that the group have learned lessons from that process and are currently preparing their submission but he did raise concerns regarding the short time-frame for the acceptance of submissions by the Department, which closes on 15 February 2013.




Notes to Editors:

Details of the review are available from:

http://www.environ.ie/en/DevelopmentHousing/PlanningDevelopment/Planning/PublicConsultations/  


Minutes of Council Meeting eliminating 500m setback, see pages 66-67: http://www.donegalcoco.ie/NR/rdonlyres/891D0429-1931-430D-8373-7372619AA32F/0/AgendaItemNo1apdf.pdf


Newmills, Planning File: http://www.donegal.ie/DCC/iplaninternet/internetenquiry/rpt_ViewApplicDetails.asp?validFileNum=1&app_num_file=1250757