Question No. 670

Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil:

To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when revised planning guidelines in respect of windfarms will come into effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Martin Heydon.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 21st April, 2015.

Ref No: 15794/15


Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Alan Kelly) :

In December 2013, my Department published proposed “draft” revisions to the noise, setback distance and shadow flicker aspects of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines.

These draft revisions proposed:

– The setting of a more stringent day and night noise limit of 40 decibels for future wind energy developments,

– A mandatory minimum setback of 500 metres between a wind turbine and the nearest dwelling fo r amenity considerations, and

– The complete elimination of shadow flicker between wind turbines and neighbouring dwellings.

A public consultation process was initiated on these proposed draft revisions to the Guidelines, which ran until February 21 2014. My Department received submissions from 7,500 organisations and members of the public during this period.

It is intended that the revisions to the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines will be finalised as soon as possible. In this regard, account has to be taken of the extensive response to the public consultation in framing the final guidelines. Further work is also advancing to develop technical appendices to assist planning authorities with the practical application of the noise measurement as pects of the Wind Guidelines.

The revisions to the Wind Energy Development Guidelines 2006, when finalised, will be issued under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. Planning authorities, and, where applicable, An Bord Pleanála must have regard to guidelines issued under Section 28 in the performance of their functions under the Planning Acts.