A number of families in Co Cork who were forced to leave their homes because of noise from a nearby wind farm have won a significant case in the High Court this week.
The families claim they have been severely impacted by noise since the wind farm began operating in 2011.
This is the first action of its kind in Ireland and may now open many wind farm developers to the prospect of legal challenges from families in similar situations.
The case was taken against wind turbine manufacturer Enercon who have accepted full liability for causing nuisance to seven families who live up to 1 km from the wind farm.
The case will return to the High Court in 2017 to discuss punitive damages.
Promises in Government over the last four years to introduce planning regulations regarding wind turbines have failed to materialise.
According to out-dated guidelines, turbines may be built 500m from homes. In many cases, including this, wind turbines have been built closer than 500 m.
A spokesperson for Wind Aware Ireland said: “There now is a possibility for multiple legal actions against wind farms right around the country.
“The legal implications for the wind industry are significant. The use of inadequate and out-dated planning guidelines may come back to haunt the industry, planning authorities and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE).”
On election, Minister Naughten promised that new planning guidelines would be in place within 3 to 6 months of the formation of the new government.