As you are aware there is a workshop on wind energy due to take place on 20th January 2014. This is in response to an ongoing motion that is before the council on a variation to the wind energy section of the County Development Plan 2012-
This motion has materialised following the presentation to the council by Mr Peter Crossan, Planning Consultant on behalf of GWiG in October.
That presentation is contained here should you wish to refresh your memory:http://www.gwig.net/Peter%20Crossan%20Presentation%20to%20DCC%20Oct.%202013.pdf
Following that presentation Mr Denis Kelly (senior planner) gave a presentation to the SPC meeting on 28th November 2013. There was little new in Mr Kelly's presentation, it seemed to be a mix of slides likely to have been presented before the votes on the CDP in 2012, with the slides appearing to be remarkably similar to those presented to the Straboy oral hearing. We understand councillors may have to again sit through this on the 20th. Our full rebuttal of Mr Kelly's presentation is here http://www.gwig.net/GWIG%20response,%20in%20support%20of%20Cllr%20John%20Campbell%27s%20motion%20to%20DCC.pdf
The full council meeting on December 9th 2013 decided that a wind energy workshop would take place on 20th January 2014 and that the motion to vary the wind energy section of the CDP would be proceeded with at the full council meeting on 27th January 2014 and the two issues contained therein would be going out to public consultation.
This is where we are at now.
Numerous representations have been made to councillors regarding the publics desire to have the two items contained in the motion put to public consultation and let the public, as well as other stakeholders, have their say. The issues are clear and GWiG, I'm sure you will agree, has played a very constructive part in informing councillors and the executive of the clear need for such a variation.
There is an attempt being made by Mr Kelly, Mr O Heanaigh, the executive and indeed some councillors to link the proposal (motion) that is before the council with the review of the outdated 2006 national wind energy guidelines. This is very disingenuous and a deliberate attempt by the executive to fudge and confuse the issue. The requirement for the variation in respect of the protection of the Sub Basin Districts is totally separate from anything to do with the National Guidelines. This is a legal requirement of the regulations passed in 2009 in response to a judgement of the European Court of Justice. There is no room for discretion here and the Co Manager knows this. The Council will be in breach of this judgement if this variation is not implemented and will have to suffer the consequences of their inaction on this matter.
There is also no impediment whatsoever to the proposal of a 10 x tip height set back distance going out to public consultation.
Advisory Circular from Dept of Environment
It has come to our attention that an advisory circular was sent by an official in the Dept of Environment to each Co Manager and Director of Planning in December. Each county was "advised" by the official to delay developing a wind energy strategy until the release of the new guidelines and the review of the export projects were completed. We believe this is something that you should be made aware of as we feel that this circular may be used by the executive to further fudge and delay this variation.
As you will see by the circular which we have obtained (link 1 is first page of circular and link 2 is the second page) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=717513928267683&set=pcb.717515168267559&type=1&theater & https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=717513921601017&set=pcb.717515168267559&type=1&theater
this is merely an advisory document from an official and is not a binding directive.
Should there be an attempt by the executive to use this advisory circular to further frustrate this variation we would ask you to remind them that the Development Plan is the People's Plan and the preparation and delivery of a county's development plan is one of the few powers that councillors are actually given. The proposed variation should not in any way be allowed to be affected by this circular.
Thank you once again for your attention on this matter. We ask that you do the right thing on this issue and allow the proposed variation to be put to public consultation as was agreed at the December meeting.
We would prefer not to have to take this matter to its next logical step, if this variation is not acted upon now.