The Irish government has published draft wind farm planning rules that include new noise standards and a minimum setback distance of four times turbine tip height.
The proposed wind energy development guidelines, first reported in last week’s issue of reNEWS and published on Thursday, set noise levels “in line” with 2018 World Health Organisation standards, which if breached will result in turbines being shut down.
A “robust” monitoring regime is also proposed, according to the planning department.
The setback rule, subject to a minimum distance of 500 metres, is subject to compliance with the noise limits.
The Irish Wind Energy Association said the proposed levels will be among the “harshest in Europe”.
“Although we have not yet had time to study the new draft guidelines in detail, it is immediately clear that they will make it more difficult and more expensive to develop renewable energy in Ireland and will significantly undermine the government’s own Climate Action Plan,” said chief executive David Connolly.
Dublin has also proposed the introduction of automatic shadow flicker control mechanisms, active community consultations and community dividends.
Planning Minister Eoghan Murphy said the rules are aimed at “striking a better balance between addressing the needs of local communities and maintaining Ireland’s ability to deliver on its renewable energy ambitions”.
“Our aim in these draft guidelines is to provide greater consistency of approach in planning for onshore wind energy development; thereby providing greater certainty and clarity to the planning system, the wind energy industry and to local communities,” he said.
A consultation on the draft guidelines to 19 February next year.
Energy Minister Richard Bruton said: “These guidelines are crucial to delivering the step up that is required and will give clarity to project leaders.
“A key part will be ensuring local communities are consulted on and benefit from projects in their area. We must ensure those living close to large scale projects are included in their development.”

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