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Forests and Biofuels

Many countries have now established targets for incorporating biofuels into the supply of transport fuel. For example, the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED)' adopted in 2009, mandates each member state to ensure that at least 10 percent of fuel consumed in its transport sector is derived from renewable sources - including biofuels - by 2020.

What policy makers should know 

See also this video produced by Trocaire

Another land-war is brewing closer to home in the Midlands of Ireland as locals oppose the way in which investors are getting farmers to sign over land for windfarms:

Coillte and Windfarms - Press Release from People Over Wind:

Wind farm “Information Days” or “Deception Days”

Friday 14th May 2013


Coillte provide incomplete and misleading information regarding Cullenagh Wind Farm Project in County Laois.

Coillte provided incomplete and misleading information at their “information days” in Timahoe and Ballyroan on the 12th and 13th June. Coillte plan to build an 18 turbine industrial wind installation on the picturesque Cullenagh Mountain in County Laois. The previous “information day” was held in June 2011 and Coillte claim that this event, 2 years apart, are keeping residents continually informed of this development. In 2011, Coillte outlined plans for wind turbines between 40 and 60 m in height. Coillte has now revealed that the turbine heights will be a staggering 131m.

Approx. 30 people attended across the two days which shows the poor level of engagement that Coillte has had with the c2,000 impacted residents in the immediate vicinity of the project not to mention the c20,000 residents who will be visually impacted by the project. This farce of an information day failed to inform 98.5% of the impacted population in the immediate vicinity of the development and practically nobody impacted outside of that zone.

Most alarmingly though was the lack of knowledge displayed by the significant number of Coillte personnel and contractors who were unable to answer basic questions on wind turbine heights or noise levels. People Over Wind spoke to most attendees on exiting and all complained that they had unanswered questions about the development and only one attendee voiced support for the project. In particular, the following complaints were voiced.

Coillte withheld information on where construction access to the wind-farm will be. This is despite being able to mark locations on a map. Do Coillte not know how they will get the turbine blades into Cullenagh mountain or are they purposely withholding this information?

Coillte withheld information on location of underground power lines out of the site. Do Coillte not know where the underground cables will go or have they refused to disclose this information?
There was a substation marked on the map. There were no details provided on the proposed substation and the height of this construction
Coillte revealed that the noise levels and sound study has not been conducted independently and they did not disclose the location of the sound surveys. No local residents were involved in the sound surveys. Many attendees complained that the noise information was factually incorrect for their area.
There was limited information provided on results from the wind testing mast that was in place for over a year.
There was no information on what other sites have been considered as alternatives.
There was no mention of the preparatory road work that has already being undertaken in Cullenagh and Dooray forests and the environmental impacts of these new roads.
There was unclear topographic models were available demonstrating the height of the turbines relative to the site.
There was no information on the impact to walkers, runner, cyclists and horse-riders either during construction or afterwards.
There was no information on what security fencing would be in place and where this would be located
Many maps were too small to be able to read properly
The only material available to take away and read was a glossy brochure entitled “Cullenagh Wind Farm project” which contained a number of blatantly false claims.
90% of the material on display was generic and related to Coillte, wind farms in general or to Laois County in general.
Clearly, Coillte have purposefully attempted to deceive the impacted residents by providing a combination of incomplete and misleading information. This coupled with Coillte’s refusal to participate in a public debate earlier this month shows that Coillte have clearly lots to hide. This is a blatant attempt by a state body to thwart the planning process to its own benefit.

Another information day will not address the damage already done by Coillte to date and will only add to the confusion and misinformation that already exists.

To properly redress this situation, Coillte need to start from the very beginning of this process and ensure the public are allowed to adequately participate in the decision making process from the very beginning.

People Over Wind - POW

POW Phone No - 085 210 4717


Will the Midlands of Ireland become another Guatamala? MORE...

CIFOR FACT Sheet on Forests and biofuels
application/pdfRIO+20_Factsheet - Biofuels.pdf (202.05 KB)
Tom Roche (trading as) Just Forests Ltd.
Ringfort Workshop, Rathcobican, Rhode, Offaly, Ireland
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