Residents in Scartaglin and neighbouring parishes who lodged 1,476 submissions with Kerry County Council (KCC) against proposals for wind farm development under the new County Development Plan, say they will continue their campaign and take it all the way to the European Court should the need arise.
Speaking to The Kerryman, Chairman of Scartaglin Wind Awareness Group, Michael Horan, explained that residents are ‘happy’ with last week’s decision by councillors to vote against zoning large tracts of land for wind development.
However, Mr Horan said it is the intention of the Scartaglin Wind Awareness Group – and others around the county - to remain on a ‘war footing’ should the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) mount a renewed challenge against their wishes.
“We are not going to lay down and we’ll keep the battle up, all the way to the European Court if needs be. We’re willing to go as far as it takes.
“We would hope there is no back peddling on the decision reached at last week’s meeting. We will be keeping up our community meetings as well,” he said.
“We’re delighted with the hunger and desire of all 33 local representatives to finally stand up to OPR and protect the communities who have been ravaged by wind energy for the last decade,” he added.
Mr Horan explained that because councillors had now pledged a commitment to stand up for the communities, they must continue to stand by this decision until it is secured.
“Even if the regulator comes back, which he possibly will, they must stick to their guns on it. That’s all we want from our representatives,” said Mr Horan.
“The community were very happy with the outcome. There is a sense of accomplishment, yet there is also a realisation that we’re not over the line yet with it. You must keep your guard up with this until it is rubber stamped,” he added.
In a statement by the OPR, it explained that its key function is to ensure that strategic national and regional planning policies are appropriately applied at local level.
It does so by independently assessing such plans for their ‘fit’ with such policies and making statutory submissions to local authorities.
The OPR said it recognises the contribution that Kerry has made under its current plan regarding generating renewable wind energy.
However, it also stated that further wind energy development, in appropriate locations, is required if the targets set out in the Climate Action Plan 2021 are to be met.
The OPR believes the draft plan should be reviewed to ensure the contribution of Kerry to hit targets for renewable energy. The OPR said it plans to work with the Local Authority.