Fears of a future of rusty turbines

A fear that in 25 years' time, Westmeath's landscape could be dotted by rusty wind turbines no longer of any use was voiced by Cllr Denis Leonard at the most recent meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad.

Cllr Leonard told the meeting he was concerned at the amount of renewable energy projects being planned for Westmeath.

Recalling that at the June meeting of the Municipal District Cllr Andrew Duncan had been informed that there are currently five wind farm projects for Westmeath under consideration by An Bord Pleanála, Cllr Leonard pointed out that there also a number of solar energy projects in the pipeline.

"I'm just becoming very concerned about the level of these and they are all going to An Bord Pleanála, and we're putting in very little defence against them,” he said, expressing also misgivings over what the long-term repercussions for Westmeath may be, and over the potential that as the technology becomes outdated, “rusty pylons” would be left up all over the countryside.

“I would ask that this district would ask for a full council briefing on the amount of applications across the country and which ones are sustainable and which ones are not,” he said, going on to explain that part of the reason for his misgivings was the fact that the projects were developer-driven.

“And any country that's gone down that route, has rued the day,” he said.

“We need to meet our targets of 50% by 2030. We must do it in a sustainable way. So I'd request a full debate at council level about the level of these projects within our country and what that would mean for our future.”