Alan Kelly criticised for delay in introducing regulations for wind turbines

Fine Gael’s Anthony Lawlor and Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley criticise delay in publishing guidelines

Fine Gael’s Anthony Lawlor: says the 7,500 people who made submissions “have been led up the garden path for the past 18 months”.

Fine Gael’s Anthony Lawlor: says the 7,500 people who made submissions “have been led up the garden path for the past 18 months”.

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Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has been accused of “procrastination” and “waffle” in the delay over the introduction of development regulations for wind turbines.

The department in December 2013 published draft revisions to previous guidelines relating to noise, setback distances and shadow flicker from turbines.

In a subsequent public consultation which finished 10 months ago 7,500 submissions were received. But a Fine Gael and a Sinn Féin TD sharply criticised the subsequent delay in publishing new guidelines.

Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawlor, who made a submission two years ago, said he had been asking questions for the past eight months but in response “I get the same waffle from the department”.

Submissions

The 7,500 people who made submissions “have been led up the garden path for the past 18 months”. Mr Kelly said many of the submissions were very detailed and the department had done a considerable volume of work. He stressed “the most important issue is that we get it right rather than rushing it”.

However, Sinn Féin environment spokesman Brian Stanley said, “I’m hearing procrastination”. Planning applications were rolling in and planning permission was being given for wind farm developments.

But the Minister said the analysis was ongoing and “I expect it to come to fruition in the near future”.

Mr Stanley said it was reported that Minister for Energy Alex White was blocking Mr Kelly on the regulations and that as a Dublin TD he “does not have much interest in this and is not overly concerned about giant turbines near people’s homes”.

When Mr Lawlor said people were still waiting for the guidelines almost two years later, Mr Kelly told him: “We must be cognisant of the fact that I am the Minister with responsibility for planning. Through that process I will issue guidelines that are best for planning.

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