Coastal Concern Alliance

Working to Protect Ireland's Coastal Zone since 2006

Maritime Area Planning Bill, 2021 published

Long-awaited and much needed legislation is undermined by inclusion of priority status for all wind farm applications submitted prior to 31st December 2019. The Library and Research Service Bill Digest gives a summary of key points.

Careful site-selection is internationally recognised as key to avoiding damaging environmental impacts.

CCA Briefing Note - Maritime Area Planning Bill

Details of vast near-shore wind farms proposed on sites picked out by developers with no environmental constraints or site-selection oversight that will be given priority status for fast-tracking under the new Bill.

Proposed East Coast Wind Farms

Huge near-shore developments with hundreds of turbines up to 320m high are being progressed along the coast from Dundalk Bay to Carnsore Point in advance of the adoption of Ireland's Marine Spatial Plan, the designation of Marine Protected Areas to protect marine biodiversity, and urgently required legislative reform. This makes a nonsense of the commitment to introduce an ecosystem-based Marine Spatial Plan for Ireland.

This CCA graphic shows that turbines proposed are too big, too close to shore and out of line with good international siting practice. The average distance from shore of offshore wind farms under construction in Europe last year was 44km. This compares to an average of less than 10km for proposed East coast wind farms. It is stated that because of water depth, the turbines cannot be placed further out. This is effectively an acknowledgement that the sites chosen are not suitable for these developments.

Arklow Bank Wind Park Codling Wind Parks 1 & 2

Dublin Array North Irish Sea Array

Oriel Wind Farm Other proposed projects

National Marine Planning Framework

Draft Marine Spatial Plan and SEA published.

CCA Submission in response to the Public Consultation.
This CCA document raises serious concerns about the dominance of developer interests in the draft Plan produced.

Marine Planning and Development Management Bill

CCA submission to the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
CCA are deeply concerned at the manner in which government is seeking, under this Bill, to 'fast-track' seven giant near-shore legacy wind farms before Ireland's first Marine Spatial Plan is adopted.

Regulatory Failure

Buffer Zone Needed to Protect our coast

Government failure to introduce regulation to protect Ireland’s unique coastal zone, in line with good international practice, has led to a chaotic “free for all” with multinational energy companies seeking to build the biggest offshore wind farms in the world on environmentally sensitive near-shore sites which they have been allowed to select with no biodiversity or landscape constraints, close to Ireland’s unspoiled East coast. Read moreA cursory examination of current permitting practices for offshore wind in Europe shows that Irish 'legacy projects’ are too big, too close to shore and out of line with good international siting practice. In response to environmental concerns, many EU countries have adopted de facto buffer zones around their coasts to protect in-shore wildlife, marine habitats and coastal landscapes. The average distance from shore of OWF under construction in the EU in 2020 was 44km. This compares to a distance of 6-13km for Irish projects. CCA is calling on the Irish Government to follow good international siting practice to protect Ireland’s unique coastal zone by stipulating a wind farm free buffer zone of at least 30km around our coast.

Nature Protection

Government Criticised for Pushing Offshore Wind Ahead of MPAsThe Irish Wildlife Trust has expressed fear that Government is prioritising industry-funded offshore wind and wave energy projects over its international commitments on marine protected areas (MPAs)Latest National Parks & Wildlife Report confirms that construction of wind turbines on sandbanks will result in habitat degradation.

Seascape & Visual Impact Assessment

To ensure protection of Ireland's coastline, internationally accepted Best Practice Guidance must be used.

Recent publications from the UK and Wales are ideal tools to use for Seascape &Visual Impact Assessment of offshore wind farms proposed in Ireland.

Who Are Coastal Concern Alliance?

Coastal Concern Alliance (CCA) is an independent, voluntary group, set up in 2006 by environmentally conscious citizens to campaign for:

  • Reform of the outdated and undemocratic legislation governing construction in Irish seas (The Foreshore Act 1933).

  • Introduction of a new planning framework to protect our coastal landscapes and marine environment.

  • Development of a Marine Spatial Plan for Ireland.

We have no affiliation to any political party or industry group.

Why was Coastal Concern Alliance set up?

The vast majority of Irish people are unaware that large tracts of our ecologically sensitive, near-shore waters off the east coast have been targeted by developers for construction of some of the biggest offshore wind farms in the world. During the Celtic Tiger Era, 99 year Foreshore Leases were awarded for construction of two large scale wind farms with hundreds of huge turbines on the Arklow & Codling Banks off the coasts of Wicklow and south Dublin. Extensive exploratory licences were also awarded off the coasts of Louth, Dublin & Wicklow and in Galway Bay. More recently, Foreshore Licence applications have been submitted for exploration of large nearshore areas off Waterford and Cork.

An outdated and undemocratic legislative regime has facilitated this 'sea-grab' under the radar of public attention. This legacy of speculation and inadequate regulation continues to shape the future of our coastal zone, endangering protected habitats, marine wildlife and coastal landscapes.

The management of Ireland's coastal waters is a matter of great importance to many citizens who have been excluded from the decision-making process because of the serious democratic deficits which have existed for decades. The current marine planning legislation, the Foreshore Act 1933, empowers a sole individual, the Minister for the Environment, to grant foreshore leases to private individuals and dictate conditions attaching to those leases, with no statutory involvement of Local Authorities, no pre-selection of sites by government and no affordable public right of appeal against the Minister's decision. Developers were allowed to pick out sites on a 'first come first served' basis, with no public tendering. As a result of the low key manner in which this process worked, leases and licences have been granted without the knowledge of the vast majority of Irish citizens and their public representatives.

Coastal Concern Alliance supports the development of offshore renewables in Irish waters to help Ireland meet national energy objectives. We believe that permission to construct such huge industrial installations must be assessed under a democratic fit-for-purpose legislative process and developments must be to a proper scale and properly sited to avoid damaging impacts on marine wildlife, habitats and coastal landscapes.