JIM Shannon, MP for Strangford, has called on DETI and the wind turbine development companies not to consider the provision of wind turbines off the Irish Sea without a full consultation with the fishing groups. Currently a consultation process has now begun and it is at its first of three stages. The area zoned for potential development lies in a corridor from at sea just north of Ardglass to Carlingford Lough.
He said: “Having met with First Flight Wind, the development consortium, and talked about the job of finding a location off the Irish Sea, I stated clearly that to plant the windfarm in the middle of rich fishing ground would be a backward step that could lead to further detriment to the fishing industry.
“There is a need for renewable energy as Europe and Ards Council has set targets of green energy to meet, but we cannot allow this to adversely impact fishing grounds that are vitally important to boats and fishermen from Portavogie.
“Already fishing organisations have stated concerns and I have insisted that any consultative group is fully aware of the fishing location and its potential and that the process will include in it reps from fishing organisations. I have been assured that the fishing industry will be consulted and that nothing will happen without a full consultation.
“I would also seek further assurances, no wind turbines unless the fishing sector say so – if they are restricted in their fishing ground then jobs are lost and that can never be allowed to take place.”