Uncertainty continues over delays on the update of Wind Farm Guidelines
The Government has confirmed that the update to the Wind Farm Guidelines will be delayed once again, until the end of the year. Late last year, the Government already deferred the decision as a European Court ruling imposed a process of public consultation before the guidelines are issued.
The update to the 2006 Guidelines is controversial by nature, as it requires a revision of the lay down rules on how far wind turbines should be set back from residential dwellings, on noise aspects, as well as light and shadow “flicker” from the rotating blades. In this sense, residents currently feel unprotected as no minimum distance is set, and developers feel that the application of disproportionate measures will be in detriment of the development of Wind Energy in Ireland. IWEA’s call in the matter is for international standards to be applied and they propose to continue applying the 500m advisory distance.
This new delay creates more uncertainty for the sector. Even though Wind Turbines are not a risk to human health, annoyance associated with living near wind turbines is a complex phenomenon. However, these can often be mitigated. Clarity and an open dialogue between developers and the worried residents should be established, as well as leadership from the Government on the matter, to avoid further delays and continue developing the Wind Energy sector at a crucial time when the EU fines for not meeting the 2020 targets are looming over us.