‘People Over Wind’ to battle turbines

Communities across Laois have formed a group aimed at stopping the development of government-backed windfarms planned in Laois and the midlands.

Communities across Laois have formed a group aimed at stopping the development of government-backed windfarms planned in Laois and the midlands.

People over Wind (POW) is made up of groups from Mountrath, Abbeyleix, Spink, Ballyroan, The Swan, Timahoe and Stradbally.

“We hope to link up with other groups that are forming up all over Leinster in opposition to this bizarre plan. The scale and size of the proposed developments are truly staggering and will transform and destroy the landscape of this region,” said Henry Fingleton from Ballyroan, a spokesperson for the group.

POW say they have two key objectives; to inform people of the size and number of turbines, and to “dispel the myth” that the developments will bring a large jobs boost to Laois.

“The turbines at 185 metres are a full 65 metres higher than the spire in Dublin or 6 times the height of Timahoe tower. The proposal could see 500 of these in Laois along with the associated network of pylons, cables, poles and transformer stations,” said Mr Fingleton.

POW claim that after the construction phase, the number of sustainable jobs created in Laois could be less than 100.

“We are calling on Laois County Council to protect our county by requesting an Bord Planeala and the Department of the Environment to place a moratorium on all planning applications until the review of new guidelines is completed. Commitments have already been made by local councillors and TDs to support this action. Currently in Laois, a wind farm can be developed within 250 metres of a private dwelling. There is no legislation to protect homeowners, only guidelines that recommended set back distances. These can be ignored and have been in other counties. There are also no restrictions on the noise levels permitted,” he said.

while the group accept that windfarms have a role in sustainable energy, they say the rights of people must be respected, and set back distance must be legally binding and in proportion to the size of the developments, meeting with the approval of communities. See www.peopleoverwind.com or phone 086 2568863.

In the latest newsletter this week, one of the two main windfarm companies involved in developing the windfarms have listed what they say are myths about wind turbines, and why. These include noise, danger to health, harm to house prices and shadow flicker. The newsletter include articles from CIF’s Tom Parlon welcoming the construction jobs, and from the IDA, who commit to promoting Ireland as a location for all businesses involved in the energy sector.

Element Power also say they will “fully comply” with the new government guidelines, to be drawn up later this year.

“As a responsible developer of renewable energy with a proven track record, we have been developing wind farms in Ireland for approximately 12 years and adhere to the highest standards and work in harmony with communities where projects are sited,” the newsletter says.