There was BIG real news coming out of Ireland this week where seven families won a case against the manufacturer of wind turbines. “…The case will return to the High Court in 2017 to discuss punitive damages. Promises in Government over the last four years to introduce planning regulations regarding wind turbines have failed to materialise. According to outdated guidelines, turbines may be built 500m (1,640 ft.) from homes. In many cases, including this, wind turbines have been built closer than 500m. A spokesperson for Wind Aware Ireland said: “There now is a possibility for multiple legal actions against wind farms right around the country.”
We see a number of parallels between Ireland and the U.S. Chief among them is government foot dragging on establishing protective regulations for siting wind turbines as well as government’s failure to update inadequate regulations in the face of massively larger industrial wind turbines that are continuing to increase in height and blade length. We would add, also, the failure of the OPSB to hold hearings on amended applications is relevant. Important to this story also seems to be the culpability of the manufacturer who leaves siting decisions to developers. The recent removal from public view of Vestas’ recommendation for minimum setbacks of 1,300’ (suggested years ago when turbines were smaller) seems to have been an accommodation to developers and folks like Senator Cliff Hite and the wind lobby who seek to jam wind developments into unsuitable locations in their quest for $$$$$.
Ireland’s outdated and inadequate siting regulations were revised in 2013 but never took effect. The revisions “set more stringent levels, including a mandatory minimum setback of 500 metres, noise limits, and the complete elimination of “shadow flicker” for nearby dwellings. “When Alan Kelly became minister in 2014, he initiated a further review, with suggestions that he was going to increase the setback distance to 1km or more.” This suggested guideline was never published because the government’s term expired. New regulations were set to be issued before the end of 2016 but this will not happen because the EU Court has now required further public input to be gathered. Wind News readers have “been to this movie” before. We hope the punitive damages awarded early next year as a result of the Enercon case will be hefty and that the public input process is concluded. The wind industry is surely the cause of further delay. Sounds oh so familiar.
In Vermont hearings concerning acceptable noise limits have been ongoing. The wind industry experts maintain that noise levels emitted from industrial turbines at 46 dBA or less — as measured from outside a home — should be an acceptable standard for current and future turbine projects. The community’s expert was nationally recognized acoustician Stephen Ambrose who argued that “the dBA limit should be set in the low-30s, and added that a 45 dBA limit is only acceptable for urban environments with other sources of background noise. In a rural setting, where ambient noise levels are lower, Ambrose said complaints typically start at 30 dBA. If levels hit 40 dBA, local residents start opposing projects. At 45 dBA, residents begin abandoning their homes.”…
A number of families in Co Cork who claim they were forced to leave their homes because of noise from a nearby wind farm have won a significant case in the High Court this week.
The families claim they have been severely impacted by noise since the wind farm began operating in 2011.
This is the first action of its kind in Ireland….
The case will return to the High Court in 2017 to discuss damages.
Promises in Government over the last four years to introduce planning regulations regarding wind turbines have failed to materialise.
According to the guidelines currently in operation, turbines may be built 500m from homes. Opponents say that in many cases wind turbines have been built closer than 500m.
A spokesperson for Wind Aware Ireland said: “There now is a possibility for multiple legal actions against wind farms right around the country….