UPDATED guidelines on the implementation of windfarms and other renewable energy projects are being called for by Cork County Council in light of the influx of planning applications.
Fine Gael councillor Liam Madden asked for the Cork County Development Plan to be amended or altered in response to the “sharp increase” of planning applications for renewable energy projects.
Councillor Kay Dawson said the revised national plans, which are said to be published at the end of the year, need to be expedited.
Fianna Fáil councillor Padraig O’Sullivan said they have been waiting 13 years for an update on the national guidelines and the council should write to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy to seek an up-to-date timeline on the information.
“Applications are coming in right around the county and while they are important, it is also important that they come in in the right way.”
Independent councillor Marcia D’Alton called for a moratorium of planning applications of this kind until the guidelines are produced.
Fianna Fáil councillor William O’Leary said there was no one against the development of windfarms, rather it is the proximity to where people are living is what is causing the issues.
“We need the report published, it has been dragging on for years now,” he said.
“They are kicking the can down the road without giving us any reason. People are frightened. I think it is urgent that these guidelines are published.”
Cork County Council deputy chief executive Declan Daly said: “We welcome the number of applications we are getting for renewable energy.
“We just spent the morning discussing our climate adaptation strategy and an important part of that will be the provision of additional renewable energy facilities, including battery storage, so I think it is important we bear in mind our strategy when thinking about these things.”
Green Party councillor Liam Quaide said that onshore and offshore wind farms are needed to make the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but said he had “serious concerns about private companies that try to build major projects in villages without consultation.”
“I think if the transition to renewable energy was community-orientated we would not be seeing as much of a resistance to them.”
The council agreed to write to the Minister and the Department of Planning seeking an update of the guidelines.