Emmett Corcoran, by-election candidate fro Roscommon South Leitrim, said this week that he was very disturbed by the hypocrisy and the lack of democracy in matters concerned with wind energy.
“ It seems ridiculous that on Roscommon County Council’s own web-site, under a section called ‘Invest Roscommon’, there is a photograph of wind turbines, inviting developers to build wind turbines in Roscommon. However, if you look at the record of Roscommon County Councillors they have opposed every wind farm in Roscommon in the last five years. They have also been outspoken in trying to change local and national policies on wind farms to protect rural families from the noise and visual pollution associated with wind turbines”.
Mr. Corcoran also sees hypocrisy at national level. “The Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, has said that he would not like to live besides a wind farm, and he voted in the Dáil for increased set-back distances for wind turbines to be from family homes. However, on the 22nd July he wrote to Roscommon Council directing them to remove amendments to the Roscommon County development plan which would allow for greater set-back distances from family homes”.
‘These are prime examples of talking out of both sides of your mouth, whilst communities are left to face massive legal bills as they fight planning decisions for wind farms. If community groups loose their legal battles they will likely experience property devaluation and mental stress associated with the noise from wind turbines’.
Mr. Corcoran said that in his view planning decisions for wind farms should only go ahead if whole communities supported a wind farm development. “The onus should be on the developer to get community agreement. If the community is split about the development going ahead then it should not go ahead”.
Mr. Corcoran’s view is that like any business agreement people should be properly compensated if they suffer loss from a wind farm development. He said that token funds for community projects were not sufficient. “People needed to be fully compensated for property devaluation. If people were experiencing mental health problems associated with the wind turbines they needed to be believed and the developer would have to rectify the problem and if need be, turn the turbines off”.
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