Monday, 6 October 2008

Wind farm blamed for loss of TV reception

A NEWLY constructed wind turbine farm is being blamed for the loss of television reception in a rural area.

Locals in the Ballycummane and Tournafulla areas of west Limerick claim the wind farm has been placed directly in line with the Maghera transmitter in Clare from where they receive their television reception.

Following an initial investigation, RTE said developers behind wind farms must be held accountable for any loss of television or radio signal.

The Maghera transmitter sends the reception across the Shannon estuary to west Limerick but RTE says the responsibility for the problem with homes receiving no or poor reception lies with the commercial developer behind the remote wind farm.

The State broadcaster was also critical of the planning procedures. An RTE engineer went to visit the affected homes in Co Limerick where some television owners told him they had been offered a year's free subscription to Sky by the developer.

Mick Kehoe, executive director with RTE Transmission Network Limited (RTENL), has written to Fine Gael TD Jimmy Deenihan explaining that television reception is affected by the wind turbines.

Mr Kehoe said most homes were unhappy with the offer of a year of free satellite service as it was a short-term solution and was depriving them of the free-to-air services that that they were entitled to.

"Construction of wind farms and other large structures and buildings is totally outside of RTENL's control, and it is, therefore, necessary that developers and those granting planning permission take full account of all possible impacts before proceeding with their projects," Mr Kehoe wrote.

"RTENL has worked with wind farm developers across Ireland to assist them in avoiding and rectifying TV and radio reception problems.

"As you can appreciate, developers are undertaking projects that are for commercial profit and it is fair and reasonable that they are held responsible for any disruption that they cause. This includes disruption to TV and radio signals," Mr Kehoe added.

RTE is continuing to investigate the problem, but has to date been unable to identify the developer of the wind farm.

Barry Duggan

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