The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is currently undertaking a focused review of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines.
The review is addressing a number of key aspects including sound or noise, visual amenity setback distances, shadow flicker, community obligation, community dividend and grid connections – a public consultation is expected to take place shortly.
He was asked by Fine Gael’s Bernard Durkan what exactly the position is regarding new proposed setback regulations for wind turbines.
The minister said that as part of an overall review a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is being undertaken on the revised guidelines before they come into effect. He also warned that it will be later this year before the guidelines will be published in full.
While the revised draft guidelines had been expected to be published during the first quarter of 2019, some delays to the planned schedule arose.
He continued: “Delays arose due to the recent publication of updated World Health Organisation (WHO) noise standards and also because of the need to focus on certain Brexit-related planning issues.
“As part of the SEA process there will shortly be an eight-week public consultation on the revised draft guidelines, together with the comprehensive environmental report.
Finalised guidelines will be prepared following detailed analysis and consideration of the submissions received during the consultation phase and the conclusion of the SEA process.
“When finalised the revised guidelines will be issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended.
“Planning authorities and, where applicable, An Bord Pleanála must have regard to guidelines issued under Section 28 in the performance of their functions generally under the planning acts.
“In the meantime, the current 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines remain in force.”