Gormley Unveils His Turbines Free-for-All; Wind Power: Structures Up to 20m Will Need No Planning Permission

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Byline: ALAN SHERRY

WIND turbinesupto20 metres in height may soon be commonplace on our skyline asEnvironmentMinister John Gormley clears the way for businesses to install them without theneed for planning permission.

The Green Party leader plans to grant exemptions to many renewable energyprojects attached to public, commercial and agricultural buildings from theplanning process.

Under his proposals, special status will be given to renewable technologiesincluding wind turbines, solar panels, biomass projects and combined heat andpower plants.

Certain conditions will still apply. These will cover the development ofbuildings with preservation orders and there will also be a requirement thatturbines be at least 200 metres fromhouses. Public buildings, including schools and hospitals, will be exempt too.

The structures will be as tall as five double-decker buses.

MrGormleywillannouncea three-month consultation process on the issue this week and hopes tointroduce exemptions from Februarynextyear. 'The proposed exemptions provide an appropriate balance between the needsof business to explore opportunities for meeting their energy requirements fromrenewable sources, and of the public to preserve the amenity of their localarea,' Mr Gormley told the Sunday Business Post.

'The measures I am proposing will have multiple benefits in terms of climatechange emissions reductions, potential job creation and the development of amore sustainable and secure energy supply.' Therushtotransfertowind power, which produces zero emissions, has increased significantly inrecent years. …