Sinn Féin's TD for Laois has said new wind turbine guidelines do not go far enough, with rules on setback labelled as 'useless'.
Responding to the release yesterday of details of the Government’s proposed Wind Farm Guidelines, Dep Brian Stanley said the long awaited guidelines do not go far enough and do not give protection to rural dwellers in terms of setback distances.
"While the measures in relation to restrictions on noise levels and shadow flicker are a step in the right direction, the setback distances are totally inadequate," said the SF Spokesperson on Communications and Environment.
He said a guideline for giant turbines to be set back a distance of only four times their height is "useless".
"In practice this means that a huge turbine over 150 metres in height need only be set back 600 metres from houses. This will not be acceptable to residents. Only the Wind Farm developers will be delighted with this," he said.
In March 2017, Laois County Councillors voted to include a 1.5km setback in the next Laois County Development Plan.
He said the proposed guidelines do not include a requirement that wind turbines can only be located in areas zoned for that purpose by County Councillors in County Development Plans.
"The Government needs to strengthen these and implement them as soon as possible. Rural communities in Laois and Kildare should not have to endure monster turbines being constructed on top of their homes," he said.
Dep Stanley said he introduced a Bill to the Dáil stipulating a minimum setback distance of 10 times the height of the tip of the blade. It also required that turbines over 25 metres in height must be located only in areas designated by Councillors in their County Development Plans.
Several wind turbine companies have earmarked Laois for development but there has been a lot of local opposition.
Laois County Councillors effectively banned turbine development in Laois for the next Laois County Development plan. Apart from the 1.5km setback, the councillors voted for that no areas of the county be 'open for consideration' for wind farm.
Read more about Laois windfarm rules here