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To: First Minister (Michelle O'Neill and Emma Little-Pengelly) Northern Ireland Assembly

Petition to Protect the Sperrins and NI: Moratorium on Wind Farm Developments in Northern Ireland

We call for a moratorium on wind farm developments until the following conditions are met.

1. Revision of the 2030 Targets Roadmap:
   The pathway to achieving 2030 energy targets should not be over reliant on wind energy and be reassessed to ensure a balanced and sustainable approach with real actions on progressing other renewable energies.

2. Reallocation of Subsidies:
   Private sector interests developing  infrastructure such as wind farms  and BESS  should not be dependent on government interventions and subsidies to sustain their business models and enhance their profit margins. The public finances - which are increasingly under pressure - should  be targeted more directly at renewable solutions which would have more direct and identifiable benefits for citizens and local communities

On our journey to a greener future , and to ensure the resilience of  local communities  and citizens to climate change and energy insecurity,  government subsidies and financial incentives should in the first instance be targetted at reducing the carbon footprint and energy consumption needs of the nation's 

-  Housing stock
-  Small to medium sized enterprise premises 
-  Public sector, and government, charitable organisation  buildings
-  Community hubs

A move to financially support practical initiatives such as building energy audits, bespoke plans to reduce building  energy consumption, the installation of solution's such as solar panelling on roofs or heat pumps should have added immediate and very local benefits to citizens. These benefits would include a reduction  in household energy costs, efficiencies achieved in the operation of essential government services and  enhanced business profit margins. Such initiatives would also build a more universal  positive attitudinal  approach on the green transition journey.

3. Extensive Community Consultation:
   Communities must be consulted extensively and in advance of wind farm contracts being signed with landowners. Wind farms should be considered only where communities welcome them and receive adequate compensation at both personal and community levels.

4. Protection of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty:
   AONBs should be off-limits for wind farm and single wind turbine development, preserving these natural assets for future generations.  As Northern Ireland has no national parks unlike Republic of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, AONBs should be given a higher degree of protection and AONB Management Plans should be made statutory.

5. Nature Positive Approach to Carbon Reductions:
   Within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty  (and other areas with special environmental designations  and protections )  clear emphasis should be placed on a Nature Positive approach to carbon reductions. 

The restoration of our peatlands, for example, should represent a significant tool in our national efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. In stead our peatlands continue to be decimated by inappropriate  forestry, agriculture, and horticulture interests and most significantly in recent years by windfarm development.. Such developments don't just devalue an important national asset for the sequestration of carbon,  but they add directly  to our carbon footprint by disturbing and releasing carbon already stored in peatlands over the years. As part of a nature positive approach to carbon reductions our peatlands should:

- be fully audited and mapped
- be given full legislative protection  
- be subject to a properly funded programme of restoration conservation and protection to include compensatory peatland management payments to landowners.

6. Updated Noise Standards and Monitoring:
   Wind farm developments should adhere to modern noise threshold standards, including low-frequency noise. Ongoing monitoring systems must be in place to ensure compliance.

7. Environmental and Public Health Insurance:
   Wind farm developers should be required to have insurance to mitigate potential negative environmental and public health impacts.

8.Decommissioning Retaining Fee:
   Developers should pay a retaining fee to a central government agency to facilitate the decommissioning of future wind farm infrastructure.

9. Completion of Local Development Plans:
   Wind farm developments should not proceed without the formal completion of Local Development Plans. Additionally, statutory agencies must be fully resourced to respond to wind farm development planning applications.

10. Equitable Geographic Approach:
    Renewable energy development and carbon reduction efforts should be distributed equitably across geographic regions.

By implementing these measures, we can ensure that the development of renewable energy is balanced, sustainable, and considerate of both environmental and community well-being.

Why is this important?

Northern Ireland, particularly the Sperrins, is being overwhelmed by wind farms, with insufficient consideration of their drawbacks. The Sperrin region, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), faces the imminent threat of becoming a dumping ground for large, seemingly eco-friendly energy projects. We believe there is currently an unsustainable over-reliance on wind energy development as the primary means to meet renewable energy targets. This over-dependence on wind energy endangers our overall energy security, further diminishes our already shrinking biodiversity and natural heritage, negatively affects community well-being and health, and eliminates fair opportunities and benefits for everyone in our transition to a greener, more sustainable future.
Northern Ireland, UK

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2024-06-14 16:44:27 +0100

500 signatures reached

2024-05-31 10:40:09 +0100

100 signatures reached

2024-05-30 22:30:20 +0100

50 signatures reached

2024-05-30 22:04:35 +0100

25 signatures reached

2024-05-30 21:53:44 +0100

10 signatures reached