Aras Chill Dara
Kildare County Council will work with Maynooth University to prepare new wind energy guidelines as soon as the Council receives updated guidelines from the Department of Energy, the Council has been told.
At its monthly meeting on June 26, Mayor Ivan Keatley and Cllrs Aoife Breen, Padraig McEvoy and Seamie Moore proposed that given that updated setback distances from wind turbines have been published, that the council complete the spatial analysis initiated with Maynooth University to prepare a variation of the energy policies in the County Kildare Development Plan 2017-2023.
Cllr McEvoy said he wanted the implications for the Kildare plan examined pending a decision at national level.
Mayor Keatley said he understood there were guidelines but they would not be finalised until the first three months of 2018.
Cllr Mark Lynch said the set back should be ten times the height of the turbines, not four as has been suggested.
“It is totally unsatisfactory,” he said.
Cllr Mark Stafford raised questions about how to monitor noise levels.
In a report on the motion, Peter Minnock, Director of Service, said an objective of the County Development Plan 2017 – 2023 states: “Prepare a Wind Energy Development Strategy and to publish it as a proposed variation of this plan following the completion of the review of the Department’s Wind Energy Development Guidelines.”
Mr Minnock said it remains an objective of the council to prepare a Wind Energy Development Strategy.
“As soon as the Department’s updated guidelines are received, the work undertaken to date on the spatial analysis will be revisited. The Minister has indicated that, in line with requirements under the EU Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (the SEA Directive), an SEA will be undertaken on the proposed approach to the revised Guidelines. The review process will involve public consultation, and in a recent statement, the Minister said he envisaged new statutory guidelines to be finalised and issued to planning authorities in Quarter 1 2018.”
Mr Minnock told the meeting that the Council would be reticent to engage with Maynooth University until the guidelines are published.
He said the Council would do the analysis when the distances are known.