By Dan Walsh at Wexford Council Chamber
A notice of motion by Cllr John Fleming regards the Draft Plan and wind turbines was eventually withdrawn following a discussion at Monday’s March meeting of Wexford County Council at Carriglawn.
Cllr Fleming was calling to amend Section 5.7 of Volume 10 energy contained in the Draft Plan to require that wind turbines be located a minimum of 400-metres from an adjoining landholding and a minimum of six times the tip height of the wind turbine or 900-metres, whichever is the greater, from a residential property.
Cllr Fleming cited the reason being; “To minimise impacts on adjoining residences and properties in the interest of proper planning and development of the area.” He alluded to wind turbines along the River Boro and felt they should be offshore,” while Cllr Bridín Murphy agreed, she queried the effect on existing wind farms!
Executive County Planning Officer Diarmuid Houston said he was “totally against the motion” and if the wording was to end up in the County Development Plan it would lead to delays and “it is completely contrary to the national policy and would have a legal impact on existing wind farms even after public display.”
Cllr Pat Barden said Cllr Fleming lived in the same area and he referred to a 180ft high tower and one hundred people living in that area.
Cllr Barden mentioned the effects on families, and children with autism needed safeguarding. Cllr Mary Farrell said; “we need to be clear regards our future” and she questioned evidence of children living with autism. She outlined a situation known to her where a mother said; “her child lives in the calm of the turbines.”
Cllr Jacker Owens pointed out the importance of good mental health and offered support for the motion.
Cllr Jim Codd said wind turbines at sea impacted on fishers. “They would have a sizeable portion of their fishing grounds taken away as trawlers do not travel where there are turbines.”
Cllr Davy Hynes added that if “the vote ends up NOT legal it would be better to defer the motion until we get more information,” and Cllr John Hegarty believed changes could have lengthy considerations for the County Development Plan.
Cllr Oliver Walsh expressed concerns about the implications for existing wind farms where people were perfectly happy to live.
Cllr Fleming asked Mr Houston about the possible delays in dealing with the Plan and said he did not want a lengthy delay, and he was happy to withdraw the motion. Mr Houston indicated that there would be power at the end of the process to gain advice on the environmental side of things.