THE prospect of many more windfarms dotted across the Fermanagh landscape could become a reality if the Labour Party gets into power in the next general election.
The number of wind farms could almost double, creating thousands of jobs in the renewable energy sector in the next few years with the Labour Party proposing to construct thousands of new onshore wind turbines across the UK.
Cllr Robert Irvine said, “I have no problem welcoming this because I want to see Northern Ireland prosper in terms of economic development. On the other hand it has to be sympathetic to the existing land uses that are in place. There has to be alignment with the various districts local development plans coming out in regard to where wind farms could be developed.
“Any development can create wealth in the form of long-term jobs in the community, this would be welcome in the West. We have to look at renewable energy in all it’s forms to provide a more sustainable society for ourselves and create economic prosperity.”
However, Lauri McCusker, Fermanagh Trust Director added that with government incentives for wind turbines coming to an end this year it’s unlikely that there will be any new windfarms in Fermanagh in the near future.
“In the current policy environment we are unlikely to see any new developments because historically the development phase takes many years. There is significant time lag between creating a policy, implementing that policy and the renewable energy industry and political parties responding to it before a turbine is built.”
Speaking on the potential impact to tourism in the region Cllr Thomas O’Reilly said, “Tourism is key in our economy and I believe in the future it will be more important as an economic resource to attract tourists to this area. I am in favour of wind turbines to create energy in oppose to fossil fuels. I think that if they are sensitively placed and in collaboration with locals we can reap the benefits of the energy provided but also maintain the landscape that is also our natural heritage.
“We shouldn’t allow our landscape to have a wind turbine plotted on every hill top. We have a landscape that can accommodate some wind turbines but not a proliferation that leaves us as the wind turbine capital of Ireland.
“We know that there is the wind capacity in this end of Ireland to be able to generate a colossal amount of energy but I don’t believe we should take all the responsibility of generating that clean energy through wind turbines.
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