Maria Herlihy in The Corkman tells another tale about windmills and planning:
RESIDENTS in Rockchapel who appealed the granting of six windmills at Foiladaun were “very disappointed” at An Bord Pleanala’s decision to signal the green light for the development.
However, the windmills are subject to 26 conditions and planning is now granted for five windmills as opposed to the original six.
The planned windmills, which are reportedly the highest in Europe, will have a hub height of 80 metres and blade diameter of 82 metres.
The decision to grant the windfarm on March 26, 2006 by Cork County Council to Kemar Limited of 3 Woods Place, York Street, Cork came despite some residents feeling they had received above and beyond their fair quota of windfarm development in the area, with planning granted for 57 windmills in Rockchapel.
One resident told The Corkman: “We are very disappointed as we lobbied very long and hard for this and put in a lot of work into this objection. It’s a shame it’s come to this.”
Another resident said: “The feeling is obviously one of disappointment but we acknowledge that An Bord Pleanala’s say is final and we have to go with that.”
In the decision reached by An Bord Pleanála, and viewed by The Corkman, it stated that the windfarm would not seriously injure the visual or residential amenities or the landscape character of the area.
It was also stated that the development would not be likely to have a significant detrimental effect on the hen harrier species or its nesting or foraging habitat.
In the nine page document, the hen harrier raised its beak on more than one occasion and it was stated that the construction at the location shall only take place during dry weather with the months of April to July inclusive given. This was ordered so as to minimise the risk of soil erosion and to avoid disturbance to breeding hen harriers and their young.
No turbine is to be constructed within 500 metres of a known hen harrier nest. During the operation of the windfarm, any turbine with a new nest within 500 metres shall be decommissioned during the nesting period and the planning authority and the National Parks and Wildlife Service shall be notified immediately.
Turbine four was omitted from the proposed development in the interest of preserving the upland blanket bog at the location.
Interestingly, the permission for the five turbines is for a period of 20 years from the date of commissioning of the turbines. The wind turbines and related ancillary structures shall then be removed, unless, prior to the end of this period planning permission shall have been granted for their retention for a further period.
The reason for the above, given by An Bord Pleanala, is to enable the re-assessment of the impact of the development, having regard to the changes of technology and design during the two decade time-frame.
Facilities shall be installed at the developers’ expense to minimise interference with communications, radio or television in the area and the noise levels measured externally during the operation of the development at the nearest noise sensitive location shall not exceed 5dB.
Previously, residents spoke to The Corkman and said their quality of life was fast dwindling due to the noise coming from existing windmills, which are lying adjacent to the now green lighted development.