Giant wind farms would degrade coast

 

Sir, – Prof Patrick Devine-Wright draws attention in his letter (November 10th) to a major difference between the Middelgrunden offshore wind farm in Copenhagen, which was developed as a co-operative with the Danish people, and the Dublin Array wind farm, which is being promoted by a giant German energy company (“Up to 60 ‘supersize’ wind turbines planned for Dublin Bay”, News, November, 9th).

Another key difference lies in the size and scale of the Danish wind farm which is located on a site carefully chosen by the authorities following widespread debate with environmental interests.

The Dublin Array and the other vast wind farms proposed off Dublin and Wicklow are all on sites picked out by developers over the past 15 years with an absence of any marine planning.

Naturally developers are seeking to build on the most profitable sites, in shallow near-shore waters, close to major population centres.

There has been extensive debate in the EU and the US about the siting of such unprecedented industrial development, with widespread concern about possible impact on marine habitats and wildlife and inevitable impact on coastal landscapes.

The result is that massive offshore wind developments such as that proposed in Dublin Bay are now required by planning authorities to locate further offshore.

The average distance from shore of offshore wind farms under construction in EU last year was 59km. The vast wind farms with giant turbines (200m to 300m high) proposed off the magnificent coasts of Dublin and Wicklow – the Dublin Array, Arklow Wind Park and Codling Wind Park – are on average 10km from shore. They are too big, too close to shore and out of line with good international siting practice.

Ireland has some of the most beautiful and wildlife-rich coastline in Europe. It is central to our economy, tourism and quality of life. This irreplaceable part of our heritage must be preserved for our children and grandchildren.

There is no need for us to degrade our unique coastal zone with massive wind farms which would be unlikely to be permitted in any other country in Europe.

Ireland is finally drawing up its first National Marine Spatial Plan. A key Government priority must be to protect the wildlife and natural beauty of our coast. Ireland should follow good international practice and introduce a wind farm-free buffer zone around our coastline.

Yes to offshore wind! No to the unnecessary degradation of our coast! – Yours, etc,

HELEN GELLETLIE,

Rathnew,

Co Wicklow.