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Wind power making waves

THE use of wind energy is seen as an important step in reducing carbon emissions and Clare is now seeing an increasing number of applications for turbines, which is not sitting well with those living near proposed sites.

New national guidelines are due on windfarm development, and when they are finally introduced are likely to offer added protection for householders.

A draft document includes a prohibition on development within 500 metres of anyone’s home or within a multiple of four times a turbine’s height. For example a turbine of 175 metres – and at least one of this size would be included in a West Clare development for which planning permission is being sought – would have to be at least 700 metres from the nearest person’s home.

The size of the turbines (the tallest building in the Republic of Ireland is less than half the height of the Miltown proposal) means they attract controversy, while there are concerns about persistent noise and the impact of shadow flicker. T

One woman, Irene Cunningham, who lives beside an existing windfarm close to Kilmihil said she now deeply regrets that she didn’t object to its development.

She says that life in the shadow of turbines is extremely difficult, with near permanent noise. “It’s constant. Open the back door it’s there, I can hear it at night when I’m in bed. It’s like being near an airport, it’s very loud. On a calm day it’s fine, but you haven’t that many of those. They’re very invasive when you see these three huge structures. There is a place for them, but it’s not where people are living.”

Ms Cunningham has recently objected to a second windfarm in the area, as have a number of many other local people. She said that anyone who says there is not a significant amount of noise from turbines except on very still days is “bluffing”.

Applications have been submitted for two windfarms in west Clare. Plans for a 19-turbine development in East Clare will be available to view from next week.

Owen Ryan

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.