The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is currently undertaking a focused review of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines in line with the “preferred draft approach” which was announced in June 2017 by the then Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government in conjunction with the then Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The review is addressing a number of key aspects including noise, visual amenity setback distances, shadow flicker, community obligation, community dividend and grid connections.
As part of the overall review process, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is being undertaken on the revised Guidelines before they come into effect, in accordance with the requirements of EU Directive 2001/24/EC (the SEA Directive). SEA is a process by which environmental considerations are required to be fully integrated into the preparation of plans and programmes which act as frameworks for development consent, prior to their final adoption, with public consultation as part of that process.
As part of the SEA process, the Department of Housing launched a ten-week public consultation on the draft revised Wind Energy Development Guidelines in December 2019. Almost 500 submissions were received as part of the public consultation, many of which were quite detailed and technical in nature. Both Departments have analysed the submissions received and are continuing to work together towards the finalisation of the Guidelines.
The issuance of finalised Guidelines under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, will be a matter for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.