An information night about the potential wind farm development at Lyrenacarriga in Knockanore, was held by Innogy Renewables Ireland in KGK Community Hall, Knockanore on last Thursday evening, May 31st from 4pm to 9pm.
Blackwater Valley Wind Aware group who are opposed to the wind farm development, were out in force at the event and had signage and stalls outside KGK and were available to answer any question people had.
Inside the hall, there were many information stands and many Innogy representatives on hand to speak to the members of the community who were in attendance throughout the day and were happy to speak to individuals who had concerns.
Charlie Langley, project manager for Innogy explained to The Avondhu that the project is merely at feasibility stages and no application has yet been made to Waterford County Council, Cork County Council or An Bord Pleanala.
The main information available was a map of potential viable areas where in the locality which are being looked at as locations for wind turbines. At the moment, Innogy Renewables Ireland in conjunction with Highfield Energy intend on developing between 20 to 25 windmills in the Lyrenacarriga area. And the Innogy have confirmed that the turbines could be up to 150 metres tall. The total site area measures approximately 1,400 hectares and straddles the county boundaries between Co Waterford and Co Cork.
The majority of the proposed wind farm site is currently Coillte forestry with some of the area currently used for agriculture.
The section of the site which is in county Waterford is located with a ‘preferred’ zone for wind energy development as designated by Waterford Council in the County Development Plan 2011-2017.
The information evening was organised by Innogy in order to open up the channels of enquiry for the community.
“We are here today to listen to the community to hear their fears and concerns,” said project manager Charlie Langley. “We do listen to people and take on board their comments and concerns,” he added.
‘LEAVE OUR COMMUNITY IN PEACE’
Blackwater Valley Wind Aware were very unhappy with the information on display at the information evening and felt that they are being purposes kept in the dark about certain aspects of the potential project.
“It’s the lack of information on display once again demonstrates a complete lack of respect by Innogy, Highfield and Coillte for the community,” said Paddy Massey, Chairman of the Blackwater Valley Wind Aware group.
“The 4pm-9pm time was difficult and deliberate too. They didn’t want a concentrated group in the room. It shows a complete lack of regards for the community. They are just going through the motions to tick the box,” he added.
Local Cllr James Tobin was present at the information night as was Cllr John Pratt. Both politician are opposed to the development and are trying their best to represent the people of Knockanore, bringing their views to Waterford Council at meetings over the past number of months.
“As the poster in the photograph says – we don’t want our community divided. It’s up to the planning people in Waterford Council to stop this. A wind farm is not welcome in our parish,” Cllr James Tobin vocalised to The Avondhu at the information evening.
Cllr John Pratt was also in attendance at the information meeting and has been working with fellow councillors and with Blackwater Valley Wind Aware to try to put a stop to the planned development.
“We feel at this stage that it’s not fair to inflict these wind turbines on people,” he told The Avondhu.
“As councillors, we know that the area is zoned in blue and we need to find a way to change that to red for a number of reasons including the development being close to the water supply for Youghal and being close to a special area of conservation. Off-shore wind isn’t as expensive as it used to be now and I think that off-shore would be a better source of wind power,” said Cllr Pratt.
“This information night was just a ticking box exercise,” he added.
Over 165 people attended the information night. There are a lot of reports, studies and assessments to be completed by Innogy Renewables and Highfield Energy before any planning application can be made.
The project manager Charlie Langley explained that there will be another information meeting held in September or October to give the community an update on project.