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Community to continue fight against windfarm

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The Blackstairs Mountains. Photo: Matt Byrne

The Blackstairs Mountains. Photo: Matt Byrne

The Blackstairs Mountains. Photo: Matt Byrne

enniscorthyguardian

There is cross-county collaboration between North Wexford and South Carlow in a community fight against a proposal to build an industrial windfarm in the scenic Blackstairs Mountains.

People in north Wexford, especially around the Bunclody area, have pledged to fight alongside their near neighbours in south Carlow, to oppose Coillte's plan to develop the Croaghaun Wind Farm project in what is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque areas in the country.

At a recent meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District, Cathaoirleach, Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy urged suppport from Wexford County Council in the matter and asked officials why the local authority hadn't made a submission on the proposal.

Last week there was an online town hall meeting about the issue and residents have vowed to continue their opposition to the plan.

The fight against the proposal has, to-date, generated around 3,050 supporters under the banner of the 'Save Mount Leinster' campaign.

The Coillte proposal includes plans to develop seven wind turbines, each measuring 178 metres (530 feet) in height, on the slopes of Mount Leinster.

The residents highlighted the area where the windfarm would be located is adjacent to a Special Area of Conservation.

'The well-known RTE transmitter mast is considered extremely high at 122m and these turbines are more than a third higher,' said one of the residents opposed to the plan.

Carlow County Council has refused planning permission for the industrial development near the popular 'Nine Stones' area - a part of a major cycling and tourist route from Co Wexford.

However, Coillte has lodged an appeal to An Bord Pleanála to overturn the decision and that's caused concern for residents.

According to the Save the Mount Leinster group there was inadequate public consultation around the wind farm proposal prior to the application being made and residents said the majority of the community were unaware of the plans until the planning application was submitted.

A spokesperson for Coillte told this newspaper earlier this year that the planning application, which was lodged on Friday, January 16, followed 'an extensive 20-month community engagement programme in parallel with the design and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, which has actively sought input from those living closest to the proposed wind farm site'.

'The aim is to develop a renewable energy project responsibly, in a way that will bring benefit locally, regionally and nationally,' said the spokesperson.

'Coillte is uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of Ireland's economy and to achieving the goals outlined in Ireland's Climate Action Plan,' she added.

The people in the Bunclody area say they didn't receive notification of the proposed plan and that if developed it will have a major negative impact on the area, especially in terms of tourism. The Save Mounts Leinster group say the proposed turbines are of a scale normally proposed for offshore windfarm developments and they would destroy 'jewel in the crown' in the Blackstairs.


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