Fears that communities will be divided as windfarm companies target landowners


Sinead Kelleher

Coillte and Brookfield Renewable Energy Ireland have delivered brochures to landowners and households in Mushera, Ballinagree and other nearby townlands between Millstreet and Macroom, highlighting proposals for a wind farm in the area. 

The project is still at very early stage, but the brochures highlight the intended area for the project, which is close to Boggeragh windfarm near Kilcorney.

The companies involved say have extensive experience in windfarm developments, including other projects in County Cork. 

According to the Corkman's reporting on information in the brochure, environmental studies are taking place in the area as part of the proposals, and a dedicated environmental impact assessment consultant will be appointed. 

Plans are underway to erect a mast to gather data on wind speed and direction in the area also. 

Teenager David Kelleher set up the online petition and said that there are concerns locally about the project.

One such concern is the potential impact of the project on the walking route 'The Duhallow Way', which is a hugely popular attraction. 

The designated land for the project is near to homes in the area and will come within one mile of Ballinagree village. 

Other areas affected would include Mulnahorna and a number of homes within the area.  "A lot of people are against it," stated David. 

"We are now raising  awareness of the development. There is no planning yet, but people need to be aware of the project." He said that the windfarm in Kilcorney has divided the community, with some people opting to leave the area as the turbines were close to their homes.

A previous windfarm mooted for the Ballinagree area was halted over concerns for hen harriers, and the land identified for the current project is also close to the Musheramore Special Area of Protection for the hen harrier. 

The companies behind the proposals have urged the public to contact them or any member of the team involved, in a bid to allay concerns about the windfarm.  This is only one of a number of projects mooted for the Cork region. 

VSB Renewable Energy Ireland has also contacted landowners in Mallow to discuss a windfarm proposal. 

The letter sent to one Mallow landowner states that the land is suitable for such a project, and asks them to contact them to discuss the opportunity.

"VSB has conducted an extensive nationwide assessment of all areas suitable for windfarm development, and our analysis suggests that your landholding may have potential," the letter states. 

The two new proposed windfarms have sparked fears that they will divide local communities, with some landowners signing up to be part of the project. It is expected that there will be others opposed to any such project, particularly in areas where the turbines would be located close to homes.