Thursday 19 September 2019

Group call for halt on turbine planning

Residents near a proposed site for Croagh windfarm near Dromahair are calling on Leitrim and Sligo County Councils to defer any planning applications for 'giant' wind turbines until new guidelines are put in place.

The group who are opposing the development of Croagh windfarm by Coillte has questioned the effectiveness of the proposed 164 metre wind turbines.

Carbon footprint in manufacturing, during transportation and the 'massive' amount of concrete used in their construction are just some of the issues residents near the proposed site on Corry Mountain have raised.

The 'Stop the Giant Wind Turbines, Dromahair' campaign has been set up to urge Coillte to undertake a full and meaningful consultation with the local community to ensure that the health and environmental impacts of the proposed wind turbines are fully understood and conform with new guidelines.

Residents involved in the campaign are seeking a moratorium on planning applications for wind turbines and are seeking that councils impose additional conditions which require that all turbines are located considerably further away from homes than is currently proposed in Coillte's scheme.

An open letter from the group states that if the turbines get the green light, they would make them among the highest wind turbines in Ireland at approximately 500m above sea level.

The letter goes on to say that the turbines would be clearly visible from six counties and would impact views from Benbulben, Lough Gill and many more tourist areas.

"The proposed location of the turbines high on Corry Mountain, raises serious concerns regarding the potential environmental impact, including land degradation, water pollution, and negative effects on some wildlife species such as the Corncrake and also on migrating birds," the letter details.

In the letter the group highlights their major concerns in relation to health impacts and refer to noise, flickering effects from turbines and also the impact on property prices in the area.

The campaign group have referenced teh negative impacts experienced by residents of Meenwaun, Co Offaly where similar turbines were erected last year.

According to one local resident, "I can't sleep. You can't go out to the yard, you hvae to listen to the noise constantly." The letter said that same resident went to an auctioneer to put their house up for sale, however, the auctioneer refused to do so because its close proximity to the turbines would deter buyers.

Now, residents in the area of north west Leitrim fear the same fate lies ahead for them if planning is given to Coillte for these ten 'giant' turbines.


In response, a spokesperson for Coillte told The Sligo Champion: “I completely understand the frustration. I understand that people feel dis-empowered, we tried to have an empowering process.

I empathize with that feeling. We tried to make the process as inclusive and transparent as we could.

“We try to engage with communities six weeks before submitting plans. In this instance we started at the very start and set up a meeting to talk to people before any plans were made. We knocked on doors of houses within a 2km radius of the site and started building a relationship. This started in September 2018.

“We held monthly meetings to discuss processes, changes in design and keep them informed in an attempt to bring people through the processes.

“So we tried to bring people through the process to make them more comfortable, in accordance with the right regulations. We wanted there to be space for dialogue. People were extremely engaging.

“If you look at the wind energy guidelines, we have been waiting for updated guidelines which were due to be published in 2018. A draft was published in June 2017 and we’ve based it on those proposed guidelines. The project is designed to be able to comply with new guidelines, which are yet to be published.

“It can be difficult for people. It’s not what they’re used to. It can be difficult to get used to it. Especially when it’s something that they’ve never asked for.

“They have to go somewhere. I get all the arguments for offshore turbines, but we are a number of years off that.”

Sligo Champion