Committee Focuses on Wind Farms in West Tyrone

Synopsis: The Committee for the Environment travelled to Omagh earlier this week to hear from local organisations about wind energy development in the area. Members of the Committee received briefings from West Tyrone Against Wind Turbines and Omagh and Strabane District Councils’ Joint Working Group on Wind Farms.

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 28 June 2013

Reference: ENV 15/12/13

The Committee for the Environment travelled to Omagh earlier this week to hear from local organisations about wind energy development in the area. Members of the Committee received briefings from West Tyrone Against Wind Turbines and Omagh and Strabane District Councils' Joint Working Group on Wind Farms.

Committee Chairperson Anna Lo said: "The Committee has always taken a strong interest in the environmental aspects of wind energy, and it was especially keen to visit West Tyrone, an area with a significant number of wind farms, to hear directly from the local people.

"During its visit, the Committee heard local people voice their concerns about the potential impact of wind farm development on health, natural habitats and the economy, as well as concerns about the concentration of wind farms in the area. The Committee also considered benefits to the community, security of supply and the planning process in general. It was particularly interesting to hear about the work that the joint working group has been carrying out.

Ms Lo concluded: "It is clear from our visit that any future discussions on wind energy development, particularly in the West Tyrone area, must be as inclusive as possible. It was unfortunate that the Committee was unable to access a wind farm site. However, the visit has given the Committee a great deal to reflect on, including the need to balance investment in renewables with the needs of local communities and environmental matters. The Committee will continue to keep a very close eye on this issue in the time ahead."

Environment Committee Visits Omagh: L-R Cathal Boylan MLA; Sydney Anderson MLA; Tom Elliott MLA; Committee Chairperson Anna Lo MLA; Peter Weir MLA; Dolores Kelly MLA; Barry McElduff MLA; Councillor Daniel Kelly, Strabane District Council; and Councillor Kieran McGuire, Strabane District Council.

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