Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday), called on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly TD, to immediately implement new temporary planning guidelines to deal with Wind Farm applications, specifically in relation to an application made for a vast wind farm in North County Meath.
“I am calling on Minister Kelly to immediately and urgently issue new temporary planning guidelines. This was supposed to be done by the end of this year but due to the number of submissions received, I have been informed that it will be January or February 2015 before this happens. In the interim I believe it is essential that temporary guidelines are issued without delay to deal with applications.
“This week an application was made for a huge wind farm in North County Meath consisting of 46 turbines with a maximum height of a massive 169m and a permanent meteorological mast of 80m. It is proposed that this industrial project would be located in what is a rural, but highly residential area, and I find it totally unacceptable that a vast project such as this would be allowed to slip through the net without proper scrutiny.
“In recent years the size of wind turbines has increased threefold and it is accepted that the planning guidelines as they stand are not fit for purpose. The process is fundamentally flawed and it would be wrong for major decisions, such as this one, to be made in accordance with guidelines that do not work. All applications made should be cognisant of the impending new regulations.
“I take serious issue with such a substantial application being made on behalf of a shelf company affecting the rich heritage and hundreds of families in North County Meath.
“I have been very clear about my feelings on the current planning regulations and I intend to express to the Minister in no uncertain terms the gravity of this situation as it stands. Temporary guidelines are needed now to fill the void before the official new regulations are ready to be implemented. We cannot allow applications to sneak through a broken process.”