Case Study The Study of an Environmental Impact Statement for a Wind Farm Liam Dervan, EHO Galway
E.I.S. Team, Galway Under the auspices of; Mr Brendan Lawlor, A/PEHO Team Members; Mr Gerry Leen, SEHO Mr Seamus Mitchell, SEHO Ms Niamh Kelly, EHO Mr Liam Dervan, EHO
CASE STUDY Proposed Wind Farm Development Lettergunnet and Derrycrih,Furbo, Co. Galway
LEGISLATION Re: EIA / EIS EU Legislation: Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 85/337/EEC Council Directive of 27 June 1985, on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. (Transposed by Ireland in the E.I.A. Regulations in 1989)
E.I.A. Directive 85/337/EEC As Amended by: Directive 97/11/EC; on the assessment of certain public and private projects on the environment, and Directive 2003/35/EC; providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment and amending with regard to public participation and access to: CD 85/337/EEC and 96/61/EC
Irish Legislation Planning and Development Act 2000 (No. 30 of 2000) Part X; Environmental Impact Assessment Section 172 – 177 172; Requirements for E.I.S. 173; Permission for development requiring E.I.A. 174; Transboundary environmental impacts 175; E.I.A. of certain development carried out by or on behalf of the Local Authorities 176; Prescribed classes of development requiring assessment. 177: Prescribed information regarding E.I.S.
www.irishstatuatebook.ie Statutory Instruments; – E.I.A. Regulations = 15 No. S.I. Acts & Regulations with E.I.A. embedded; = 154 Acts and Regulations Planning & Development Acts and Regulations (2000 – 2009); = 42 Acts and Regulations since 2000
Relevant Regulations Planning & Development Regulations, 2001 (S.I. No. 600 of 2001); Developments requiring preparation of an E.I.S.; Schedule 5; Developments for the purposes of Part X Part 2, Sec 3; Energy Industry (i) Installations for the harnessing of wind power for energy production (wind farms) with more than 5 turbines or having a total output greater than 5 megawatts.
P & D Regs. 2001 (cont.) Schedule 6; Information to be contained in an E.I.S. Schedule 7; Criteria for determining whether a development would or would not be likely to have significant effects on the Environment.
Additional Guidelines / Sources of Reference • E.P.A. (i) Guidelines on the information to be contained in Environmental Impact Statements (Dated 2002) (ii) Advice Notes on Current Practice (in the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements) (Dated 2003)
Additional Guidelines / Sources of reference Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Planning Guidelines; Wind Energy Development Guidelines, 2006 S.E.I. Sustainable Energy Ireland; Best Practice Guidelines for the Irish Wind Energy Industry (2008)
Other Sources of reference • Relevant County Development Plan, (Galway County Development Plan; 2009 – 2015); The Energy Policies of Galway Co. Council, Wind Farm Potential. Draft Regional Planning Guidelines for the West, 2010-2022.
Case Study;- Wind Farm Development at Lettergunnet, Furbo, Co. GalwayPart 1;- Type of Referral: Scoping Assessment Date Received: April 2010 Date of Response: 2nd June 2010.Part 2;-The E.I.S. on the above.
Scoping Pack • “Scoping” ; Process of identifying the significant issues that should be addressed by a particular Environmental Impact Assessment (and eliminates those that are not). • Scoping must be focused on issues and impacts which are:- • Environmentally based • Likely to occur • Significant and adverse
Scoping Pack • Having regard to these criteria, • Competent Authorities, • Agencies, • NGO’s, and • Other Consultees, • Should ensure that a transparent and justifiable rationale exists when specifying the scope for EIA. • Scoping Pack sent to 42 No. Consultees, • (HSE - - No. 36 on the list !!!!!)
Desk-top Study • Familiarised ourselves with the content of the Scoping Pack; • Area of site; 212.3 hectares (524.7 acres) • Topography; hilly (range 70m O.D. to 94m O.D. in centre) • Wind Farm Potential Map (County Development Plan 2009 – 2015; three categories for wind energy development; • Strategic Areas, • Areas for Consideration, and • No Go Areas • The subject site is located in a “Strategic Area – where wind farm development is considered appropriate subject to environmental and scientific factors”.
Planning History of Site • P.P. previously granted for wind turbines on site. • Current EIA: to erect additional turbines, and increase hub height. • Planning Register; 5 No. Planning Applications on site. • On checking Office data-base on Planning Reports - - - - no reports relevant to previous Planning Applications.
Proposed Structure of the EIS • The “grouped structure method” • to describe the existing environment • the potential impacts of the development thereon, and • the proposed mitigation measures. • The EIS will include a non-technical summary. • Description of impacts and classification of impacts will comply with both Guidance Documents produced by the EPA.
Desk-top Study • Examined detailed Ordnance Survey Maps of area of proposed development Re:- • Water courses / Sources of Water Supply, • Known Group Water Schemes, • Dwelling houses / other Noise sensitive locations, • Had regard to other possible impacts that the proposed development may have on the environment; Dust at Construction Stage, and risk of Shadow Flicker / Shadow Cast.
Shadow Flicker • “Shadow Flicker”;- Term used to describe the short-lived effect of shadows cast by rotating blades of wind turbines when the sun passes behind them, which occurs under certain combinations of geographical positions and time of day.
Response to Scoping • It is stated that the design and layout of the proposed development will have regard to the Wind Energy Development Guidelines (Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government) 2006, and the “Best Practice Guidelines for the Irish Wind Energy Industry” (Irish Wind Energy Association, 2008). • Cognisance must be had in relation to original background noise levels and proposed noise levels when in operation. There should be no pure tones generated from the operation.
Response (cont.) • Shadow Flicker / Shadow Cast issues are not usually significant in rural areas, however regard must be had for such an eventuality. Siting distances from dwellinghouses, businesses or other properties in the area should be clearly detailed with separation distances at the maximum end of the scale observed. This may necessitate a survey being undertaken to assess Shadow Flicker / Shadow Cast concerns.
Response (cont.) • The protection of ground and surface waters must be given priority. • Dust and dirt from the development must as far as possible be contained on site. • Monitoring of rivers, lakes, etc. must be ongoing before, during and after the development.
Response to E.I.S. • The following are our observations which we recommend you consider in determining this application: • Noise; the EIS has followed the guidelines set out in the ETSU-R.97 document of 1996. However, the following have been noted. • The nearest dwellinghouse is stated to be 510m (Ref. page 4-25) to the nearest wind turbine, not 550m as stated on page 8-29 of EIS Vol. 1. • The Wind Energy Development Guidelines 2006 by the DoEHLG state that “in general noise is unlikely to be a significant problem where the distance from the nearest turbine to any noise sensitive property is more than 500m”,
Noise (cont.) not a distance of 300m as stated on page XI of Non-Technical Summary and pages 4-33 and 8-29 of the EIS Vol. 1. The noise levels adjacent to the wind turbines has not been estimated, and neither has the minimum distance from the turbines at which a noise level of less than 45dB(A) would be experienced. This Department carried out on-site background noise level monitoring using a LARSON Davis Model 831 Meter, on 27th September, 2010, at the boundary wall of House No. 52 (nearest noise sensitive location to proposed development). We recorded a background noise level average; Laf90 of 29.2 dB(A).
Noise (cont.) • This is significantly lower than that outlined in the EIS from monitoring at NSL2 (approximately same location). • Our reading would indicate that this location is a low noise environment area.
Noise (cont.) • There is no apparent reference to whether or not measures can be taken such as reducing the power configuration on the wind farm to reduce the noise if in fact it exceeds agreed levels at nearest noise sensitive locations. • Noise at construction stage should be controlled, so as not to give rise to nuisance, using specified working hours as a condition of planning.
Shadow Flicker • We acknowledge the reference to Shadow Flicker in the EIS as submitted (and the use of the “Wind Farm Software Package” to determine calculations in this regard). • “At distances greater than 10 rotor diamaters from a turbine, the potential for shadow flicker is very low” (DoEHLG Guidelines, 2006), i.e. 820 metres from turbines at this proposed development. We note that there are 17 houses within the zone of 510 to 820 metres of the proposed wind turbines.
Shadow Flicker (cont.) • In the event of complaints or problems arising associated with Shadow Flicker, at this proposed development, the operators should undertake appropriate “measures to prevent or ameliorate the potential effects on occupants of dwelling houses” (DoEHLG Guidelines 2006). This may beachieved by “turning off a particular turbine at certain time” (DoEHLG Guidelines, 2006) or “the provision of screening measures, where this is acceptable to the relevant householder” (IWEA Best Practice Guidelines for the Irish Wind Energy Industry, 2008).
Shadow Flicker (cont.) • We would further recommend that if any of the dwelling houses in the vicinity of the proposed wind farm are affected by “strobing”, appropriate measures should be put in place to prevent or ameliorate the potential effects.
Water • Surface Water/Groundwater/Private Wells. • The EIS makes reference to various mitigation measures to be implemented to reduce negative impacts on watercourses during the construction phase (table 7.8.1) and operational phase (table 7.8.2). • As the proposed site is somewhat elevated the site is naturally drained in several directions including to Lough Kip to the North, draining eventually to Lough Corrib, the source of Galway City and Environs drinking water supply.
Water (cont.) • We would recommend that all mitigation measures in relation to water as specified in the EIS Vol.1, be implemented in full to ameliorate any potential negative impacts on water courses in the area. • We would recommend that monitoring of watercourses in the vicinity of the development should be carried out during the construction, operational and decommissioning phases of the proposed development to determine ongoing compliance with current water quality baseline standards.
Dust • Dust: We note that all necessary mitigation measures will be implemented should dust become a nuisance.
Wastewater Treatment • It has been stated that the wastewater from the washroom and toilet will be directed to a sealed holding tank and emptied quarterly or more frequently as required (page 3-8). This proposal is not acceptable from a Public Health point of view; all wastewaters from sanitary fittings (w.c.’s) must be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the EPA Code of Practice: Wastewater Treatment Systems for Single Houses, 2010.