The Wind Energy Development Guidelines, published by my Department in 2006, provide advice to planning authorities on the consideration of a range of factors relating to wind energy through the development plan process. The guidelines are also intended to ensure a consistency of approach throughout the country in the identification of suitable locations for wind energy development and the treatment of planning applications for such developments. This mapping of suitable locations is carried out through the development plan process which makes very extensive statutory provision for public consultation.
The guidelines state that while the designation of an area for protection of natural or built heritage or as an amenity does not automatically preclude wind energy development, consideration of any such development in or near these areas must be subject to Ireland's obligations under the Habitats Directive, the Birds Directive and the EIA Directive. Clear guidance should be available in development plans on policy and objectives on the natural and built heritage, and the information contained therein on location and status should be accurate and up to date.