Developers RWE (formerly Innogy) Curns Energy Ltd /Highfield Energy hopes of a 17 x 150m-high industrial wind turbine farm in West Waterford and East Cork – with a large sub-station and battery storage facility on the Youghal water supply – is being met with stiff opposition from local communities.
Hundreds of residents, businesses, organisations and community groups have lodged objections to the proposed turbine farm across both counties. The closing date for submissions is March 5 and An Bord Pleanála will be posting out receipts to those who have paid their €50 submission fee each time. The board will make a decision on the project by early July 2021.
Mother of two Angela O’Connell, fears for the health and safety of her family. “My children find it hard to sleep with the slightest noise and are experiencing high levels of anxiety at the thought of 11 giant turbines being constructed behind our home.
“They will not be able to go outside and play with the noise levels – as families affected by Woodhouse Wind Farm can testify. Shadow flicker at different times during the day also affects family life inside the home.”
Blackwater Wind Aware community group chairperson, Patrick Massey, says: “Our communities are fully aware of climate change and the need to move to renewable energy. We are not against wind energy as part of a balanced mix of renewable technologies.
“We are, however, against poor planning regulations, outdated guidelines for wind farm developers and a national renewable energy action plan that has never been through a proper cost based analysis.”
Dairy farmer Padraig O’Brien says he and his family rely on their wells for their water supply. “There is a real risk of these going dry as the massive foundations required to build each turbine really disturbs the existing underground water structure,” he claims.
“I have grave concerns about the health of my animals and livelihood due to the effects of living in the middle of these giant moving skyscrapers. We are expected to protect waterways and wildlife and are strictly regulated by the Government in this regard,” he added.
“In our area we have a diverse range of wildlife. I find it ironic that these giant 150m-high steel turbines can be erected in pristine countryside, where it can have a detrimental effect on these animals.”
Others opposed to the development, include retired teacher Ava Farrington, who “genuinely believes that such a development will irreparably harm this area”. While David and Linda Walsh, who have welcomed new born twins this year, fear that growing up with turbines sited nearby, can “only have a negative impact.”
As well as health risks and effects to humans and wildlife, the equine industry is also extremely concerned about this windfarm and proximity of these giant turbines.
As hightlighted last week, high profile names in the local equine industry across West Waterford and East Cork, Davy and Jerry Russell, have lodged objections against the wind farm, along with horse breeders and trainers, John and Anne Houlihan, who are fiercely opposed to the proposed development.
LANDSCAPE & WILDLIFE ‘CANNOT ABSORB ANY MORE’
Paddy Massey adds: “Lyrenacarriga Wind Farm would be visible from 45km in all directions and would be seen way beyond the county bounds. It is essentially two wind farms – as one is in Waterford and the other is in Cork. It will be situated on a vulnerable rural elevated upland plateau, on an open and exposed landscape, with no land cover or significant features to absorb the scale of the development.
“There are already three wind farms in the Blackwater Valley and the gentle, scenic, landscape and wildlife and biodiversity levels cannot absorb any more.”
Blackwater Wind Aware is calling on anyone who is opposed to the wind farm (PL04. 309121) to make a submission to An Bord Pleanála by March 5. Their website includes full details of the application, turbine maps and background information.
Sign up for their newsletter which aims to keep residents informed of the latest developments on the project throughout the year at www.blackwaterwindaware.com