Saturday, 23 April 2011

Group claims 72% are against wind farm plan

MORE THAN 400 submissions on an €80 million wind farm proposed for south Roscommon have been received by Roscommon County Council.

Green energy company Galetech has applied for planning permission to build an electricity generating wind farm, Seven Hills, close to Dysart, in the townlands of Turrock, Cronin, Mullaghhardagh, Gortaphuill, Tullyneeny and Glenrevagh. Galetech already has interests in wind farms in Cavan and Monaghan and is based in Cootehill, Co Cavan.

However, the Wind Turbine Action Group, South Roscommon, has vowed to oppose the application at council and An Bord Pleanála level, “and beyond if necessary”.

They claim 72 per cent of the 408 submissions to the council on the planning application are opposed to the wind farm, with 28 per cent in favour.

Spokesman for the group, Albert van Beek, said the high level of opposition did not mean all opponents were opposed to wind energy, but “the fact that so many people are against this wind farm is a sign that cannot be ignored”.

According to an analysis of the submissions by the group, 77 per cent of objections related to potential damage to the landscape; 9 per cent said the development would negatively influence the tourism industry in the area; 53 per cent were concerned about noise and 42 per cent about health issues.

The future value of property was a concern for 39 per cent.

Mr van Beek said Dysart was not mentioned in the county development plan as suitable for a wind farm.

He said a council draft wind energy strategy identified the area as suitable for wind farms. However, he said the designation of land value in the area as “moderate” in that strategy “is another way of saying this landscape is of lowest value”.

Opponents have cited an Irish Academy of Engineers report, Energy Policy and Economic Recovery, 2010-2015, which they say argues against investment in new wind farms.

Irish Times

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