The High Court has issued its order regarding the seven families from Cork who were impacted by noise pollution from a nearby wind farm. A number of the families had to abandon their homes because of the severity of the noise and some lived up to a full 1km from the wind farm.
The defendant, Enercon Wind Farm Services Ireland Ltd., has admitted liability and the case is listed for ten days in the High Court commencing 25th April 2017 to deal with damages and costs.
The outcome of the April court case could be a watershed for existing and planned wind farms as well as for investor confidence in, and government plans for the future of on-shore wind in Ireland. Many families, similarly affected by noisy wind turbines are anxiously awaiting the outcome and it is expected that more cases will now follow.
There has been a failure of successive governments to regulate the wind industry. Minister Denis Naughten is the latest minister to delay the introduction of regulation. This despite his promise to regulate the distance turbines can be placed from homes within 3 to 6 months of his taking office. Instead, yet another lengthy period of consultation is planned, despite previous consultations on the matter attracting over 7,000 submissions. A spokesperson from Wind Aware Ireland has stated “This further delay has indicated how far this government are prepared to allow the continuation of a free-for-all in the construction of wind farms, to the detriment of rural communities who are bitterly opposing their construction.”
Ireland’s embarked on an all-wind strategy in 2007 under Minister Eamon Ryan in conjunction with Brendan Halligan (chairman of SEAI), who was also a director and shareholder in Mainstream Renewables, one of Ireland’s biggest wind farm developers.
No cost benefit analysis (CBA) or strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was ever carried out on the plan. Both of these legally required analyses were sidestepped.
To date, these analyses have not been carried out and Ireland proceeds with this expensive experiment. Ireland’s 1400 wind turbines have reduced our CO2 emissions by a paltry 3-4%.