WIND FARM PLAN FURY

Eleven tur­bines in ap­pli­ca­tion

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - FRONT PAGE - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

PLANS are un­der way to have a large-scale wind farm erected across a num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties in south Wick­low as ABO Wind Ire­land Ltd has lodged an amended ap­pli­ca­tion for Bal­ly­manus Wind Farm. The ap­pli­ca­tion was lodged with Wick­low County Coun­cil a week ago and al­ready has raised the ire of lo­cal res­i­dents and elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The new file seeks per­mis­sion for 11 rather than 12 tur­bines in ar­eas in­clud­ing Aughrim, An­nacurra and Ti­na­hely. It is ex­pected that there will be con­sid­er­able lo­cal op­po­si­tion to the plan and South Wick­low Wind Ac­tion Group has al­ready called a pub­lic meet­ing for Thurs­day, July 20. The com­pany has in­vited the pub­lic to view the full plan and ex­ten­sive En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ment Re­port.

A NEW ap­pli­ca­tion for a wind farm span­ning a large area of south Wick­low has been met with op­po­si­tion just days af­ter the file was lodged with Wick­low County Coun­cil.

ABO Wind Ire­land Ltd is seek­ing per­mis­sion to con­struct a development known as ‘Bal­ly­manus Wind Farm’ com­pris­ing eleven 150 me­tre wind tur­bines at lo­ca­tions in Rod­de­nagh, Kil­laduff, Bal­ly­manus, Askekeagh, Ballinglen, Pre­ban, Tom­coyle, Kil­bal­ly­owen, Kil­la­clo­ran, Clone, Coolahullin, Bal­ly­coog Up­per and Lower, Bal­lykil­lageer Up­per and Lower, Ballintem­ple, Cool­garow, Kil­carra East and West, Gle­nart, Shel­ton Abbey, Kil­bride and Killinsky­duff.

It is un­der­stood that since the com­pany’s pre­vi­ous at­tempt to se­cure per­mis­sion, the ap­pli­ca­tion has been amended to re­duced the num­ber of tur­bines from 12 to eleven with the re­moval of one in the Aughrim/ An­nacurra area in an ef­fort to re­duce the vis­ual im­pact on the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Since the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion was lodged last week, op­po­si­tion group South Wick­low Wind Ac­tion Group (SWWAG),which rep­re­sents res­i­dents in the afore­men­tioned ar­eas, has vowed to take ev­ery pos­si­ble step to pre­vent such a development from go­ing ahead.

A pub­lic meet­ing has been called for Thurs­day, July 20, at 8 p.m. in Law­less’s Ho­tel, Aughrim.

Ac­cord­ing to SWWAG spokesper­son Richard More O’Fer­rell there is ‘mas­sive op­po­si­tion’ to the plan al­ready.

‘It is ex­pected the ABO ap­pli­ca­tion will re­ceive a unan­i­mously neg­a­tive re­sponse, sim­i­lar to that voiced at the time of the pre­vi­ous ap­pli­ca­tion, which was re­jected by the coun­cil just over two years ago,’ he said.

He said that the group will be pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to lo­cal res­i­dents who wish to make ob­ser­va­tions on the ap­pli­ca­tion.

A fundrais­ing cam­paign to cover any potential fu­ture le­gal costs will also be launched.

‘At the meet­ing, SWWAG will pro­vide as­sis­tance to lo­cal res­i­dents and the wider com­mu­nity who wish to pre­pare sub­mis­sions to Wick­low County Coun­cil.

‘In ad­di­tion, it will of­fi­cially launch a ma­jor fundrais­ing cam­paign to em­power the com­mu­nity to chal­lenge both the ABO Bal­ly­manus ap­pli­ca­tion and all new wind farm plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions right through the Bord Pleanála ap­peal process and, if nec­es­sary and ap­pro­pri­ate, to the High Court,’ Mr More O’Fer­rell said.

The re-sub­mis­sion of plans by ABO Wind has also been crit­i­cised by lo­cal politi­cians who have pledged their sup­port to those in the com­mu­nity who are fear­ful of the development get­ting the green light.

Wick­low TD Pat Casey has branded the com­pany’s failed 2015 at­tempt for plan­ning per­mis­sion as a ‘cyn­i­cal scop­ing ex­er­cise’ and said that, re­gard­less of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion car­ried out by ABO Wind Ire­land Ltd, there is still great con­cern about the plans.

‘Their so-called pub­lic door to door con­sul­ta­tion fol­low­ing this re­fusal has been twisted to sug­gest that some­how there is com­mu­nity buy-in to this development. I will be work­ing with lo­cal Coun­cil­lors and the peo­ple of ru­ral South Wick­low to en­sure that this fur­ther at­tempt to im­pose this un­ac­cept­able development is once again re­jected,’ he said.

Sim­i­larly, Cllr Pat Kennedy said that the re­sponse from the lo­cal com­mu­nity al­ready in­di­cates that there is a lot of op­po­si­tion to the plans.

‘Since last Thurs­day, my

phone hasn’t stopped ring­ing with peo­ple con­cerned about this, from both a health and a vis­ual point of view,’ said Cllr Kennedy.

‘These same peo­ple ut­terly re­jected this plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion the last time it was sub­mit­ted. There were over 400 ob­jec­tions the last time,

in­clud­ing my own, and I want to as­sure all of these peo­ple and in­deed all of the fam­i­lies of south Wick­low that I will be ob­ject­ing to it this time on the strong­est grounds pos­si­ble.

‘I will also be call­ing on my fel­low pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives to ob­ject to this plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion in the in­ter­ests of fam­i­lies

and their chil­dren,’ he said.

Full de­tails of the ap­pli­ca­tion and En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ment Re­port can be ob­tained through Wick­low County Coun­cil’s plan­ning sec­tion.

Sub­mis­sions must be filed by Au­gust 8 and a de­ci­sion is ex­pected to be reached by Au­gust 29.

(photo: file pic).

The new ap­pli­ca­tion is for eleven tur­bines, one less than the com­pany sought plan­ning per­mis­sion for in 2014

Deputy Pat Casey.

Cllr Pat Kennedy.

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