My Department is currently undertaking a focused review of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines. The review is addressing a number of key aspects including noise, setback, shadow flicker, community obligation, community dividend and grid connections.
Guidance on the noise aspect is currently being finalised by my Department in conjunction with the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), which has primary responsibility for environmental noise matters. Significant work has been undertaken on the noise elements and the two Departments recently met to discuss new developments in this regard including consideration of the impact of the revised 2030 target to generate up to 80% of our electricity from renewable sources and the need to ensure that proposals regarding the measurement and assessment of noise from wind turbines are fit for purpose. These aspects are currently being considered and further engagement between the Departments is expected imminently. Following this inter-departmental engagement, I will be in a better position to provide an update on the expected publication date of the revised Guidelines, the finalisation of which remains a priority.
It should also be noted that the review and finalisation of the Guidelines has been included as a specific action in the recently published Climate Action Plan.
When finalised, the revised Guidelines will be issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. Planning authorities and, where applicable, An Bord Pleanála, must have regard to guidelines issued under section 28 in the performance of their functions generally under the Planning Acts. In the meantime, the current 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines remain in force.