A Cavan-based wind energy company has lodged a last-minute appeal against Westmeath County Council’s recent decision to reject their plans for the construction of a wind farm in the Gaybrook area of Mullingar.
Galetech Energy Services, which operates out of Cootehill, Co. Cavan, sent the appeal to An Bord Pleanála on Wednesday of last week, October 6 – just a 24 hours before the cut-off point for appeals against the Council’s September 10 decision.
No details of the company’s grounds for appeal have yet been forthcoming, and several unsuccessful attempts were made to contact a Galetech representative on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
But residents of areas such as Gaybrook, Mahonstown and Gibbonstown – where the nine proposed wind turbines could be located, if An Bord Pleanála allows it to go ahead – are gearing up for a long battle to stop Galetech from going ahead with the project.
Westmeath County Council’s refusal came after months of campaigning by local residents, and the local authority cited the protection of the local landscape from “a visually dominant and obtrusive form” as one reason for turning the project down.
“It’s no surprise that they have appealed,” said Emily Wallace, a resident and a member of the Midlands Industrial Wind Turbine Action Group, which is spearheading the campaign. “We were expecting it.
“We would have been disappointed if they didn’t, and because it has gone to An Bord Pleanála, this is our opportunity to stop something like this from coming into our area once and for all.”
Ms. Wallace said that the residents go into the An Bord
Pleanála fight “armed with the strength of the Council decision”, the three points of refusal, and an array of facts and figures relating to the greater Gaybrook area’s significance, from a heritage point of view.
The group continues to raise funds for its campaign, and is set to hold a fundraising dance in the next month.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael councillor Colm Arthur said this week that the residents of Gaybrook, Gainstown and other areas “would not be fazed” by Galetech’s last-minute decision to appeal.
He pointed out that submissions can be made to An Bord Pleanála with regard to the Galetech appeal before Wednesday, November 3. Over 500 submissions were made by locals regarding the initial planning application lodged with the county council.
“An Bord Pleanála will make their decision in early 2011, and it will bring the matter to a close,” Cllr. Arthur said. “It will be eagerly watched by residents in the Rosemount and Glasson area, where Galetech is in the early stages of planning a wind farm.”
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