National draft guidelines propose 500 metre setback for new wind turbines

A set back of at least 500 metres from homes for any new wind turbines is among the measures being proposed in draft national guidelines on the sector.

The draft guidelines were discussed at the monthly meeting of Kerry County Council.

It comes as communities in Ballyhorgan in North Kerry and in Sliabh Luachra have voiced major concerns about separate wind farm developments.

Cllr Aoife Thornton said we don’t want sterilisation nor do we want infiltration when it comes to wind turbines.

She asked what was the point in imposing levies if these are not used to repair infrastructure such as roads and bridges damaged by heavy vehicles servicing these developments.

She added that there have been cases where a planning application for a wind farm is denied by the council, refusal is also recommended by an inspector and then An Bord Pleanala approves the application.

Cllr John Joe Culloty said 411 wind turbines have been built, are under construction or have been granted planning permission in Kerry, adding this area needs to be controlled using the County Development Plan.

Cllr Jimmy Moloney called for the Landscape Character Assessment that described the North Kerry landscapes of no particular merit in terms of amenity and which informs wind energy strategy to be changed.

Assistant Director of Services with KCC Michael Scannell said it would be unlikely that An Bord Pleanala would disregard these draft guidelines when considering wind farm applications, while Chief Executive of KCC Moira Murrell said the council will need to look at how the draft guidelines will impact on the county.

The draft Renewable Energy Guidelines are due to be published by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government by the end of the month.

The draft guidelines will be discussed by councillors following the July council meeting.