The issue of wind turbines for Westmeath is back on the political agenda in the run-up to the next General Election.
Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy, has reiterated his call for the Government to publish the new wind energy guidelines which it promised to introduce.
The current wind energy guidelines were published in 2006 and underpin the Government’s policy regarding the construction of wind turbines. However, industry stakeholders have pointed out that the current guidelines are outdated and are in need of a major overhaul. Deputy Troy said: “This week in the Dáil I discussed the need for a radical overhaul of the wind energy guidelines directly with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
“I called on the Taoiseach to set the record straight and tell us when the Government will publish the new guidelines. Unfortunately, the Taoiseach completed dodged the question. The carefully worded response on behalf of the Taoiseach makes me believe that the Government has no intention of publishing the new guidelines in advance of the General Election.”
Troy says the Taoiseach and Government’s response further increases the uncertainty that many communities are experiencing when it comes to the proposed construction of controversial windfarms across the Midlands. “Fianna Fáil has already published proposals which would introduce strong legislative guidelines to protect local communities and allow them to be stakeholders in the future development of any windfarms,” the Deputy said.
“Our proposals will ensure that all windfarms have community consent before development begins. This is the only way that we can achieve our wind energy commitments without dividing and damaging communities in the process. It is important that the County Development Plans of each local authority are taken into consideration when developing the new guidelines, alongside the input that local representatives had into those plans.”