National campaign group targets wind turbines

Tue, Jun 12, 2012, 01:00

A NATIONAL movement to highlight concerns about wind farms says it has the support of some 15 community groups along the Atlantic seaboard.

The grouping, currently called the Campaign for Responsible Engagement with Wind Energy, is due to hold its first meeting in Strokestown, Co Roscommon, next weekend, where it will by addressed by Senator John Kelly (Labour), backer of legislation aimed at setting minimum distances between turbines and family homes.

Mr Kelly said that with turbines now as high or higher than Dublin’s Millennium Spire, there was growing unease among communities over the pace of wind energy development.

“I’m not opposed to wind energy, but there is evidence of health and noise effects of turbines, and the fact that existing guidelines were set when turbines were only 50 metres high,” Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly’s Wind Turbine Bill 2012 is currently at its second stage in the Seanad.

If passed, it would result in the current generation of large wind turbines being at least 1.5km from family homes.

The new organisation cites a recent editorial in the British Medical Journal on the health implications associated with the noise of wind turbines for people who live close by.

Other concerns include the impact on our tourist landscapes and the lack of proper economic costing for wind energy, according to spokesman Yvonne Cronin of the Knockalough community group, Co Galway.

Irish representative on the European Platform Against Wind Farms Val Martin and environmental campaigner Peter Crossan will also address the meeting, as will scientist Prof Alun Evans of Queen’s University, Belfast.

Prof Evans co-wrote the March 2012 editorial for the British Medical Journal, which refers to health issues arising from proximity to turbines.

Last week Donegal county councillors rejected a proposal to introduce a 1km exclusion zone between dwellings and wind turbines.

The proposed exclusion zone was rejected by 13 votes to three, with five abstentions.

The council also voted to accept an alteration to the current development plan that would remove a 500m exclusion zone and replace it with national guidelines that do not specify an exclusion zone.