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Money needed to fight Galetech’s windfarm appeal

The Midland Industrial Wind Turbine Action Group (MIWTAG) needs at least €5,000 to fight an appeal made by Galetech to An Bord Pleanala on foot of Westmeath County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a nine turbine wind farm at Gaybrook, Mullingar.

The call for further funding was made at a meeting held on Monday night in the Bloomfield House Hotel by MIWTAG, where it emerged that Galetech have yet to lose an appeal made to the national planning authority in the last three years.

MIWTAG are now calling on Westmeath County Council, Belvedere House and Gardens and Mullingar Golf Club, the latter two who have yet to make any submissions on the proposed wind farm, to get behind their campaign and make their feelings known to An Bord Pleanala.

According to Emily Wallace of MIWTAG, Westmeath County Council need to make an appeal because she claims, “The County Cavan company Galetech Energy in their appeal to An Board Pleanala have accused Westmeath County Council of delaying the planning process unnecessary and adding extra costs of almost €60,000 on them to submit the 32 points of further information to the council.”

In Galetech’s appeal they state that Westmeath County Council should have informed them at an earlier stage of the unsuitable area that is Gaybrook to locate a wind farm there, instead of requesting further information, which cost the company €60,000.

“It is the opinion of GED that if a refusal was warranted on fundamental grounds, it should have been done in the first instance to avoid this additional cost and delay,” said Galetech.

Their appeal also contained points of the height of the turbines, saying that while Westmeath County Council consider their turbines which range between 125 – 135m in height, to be too tall for the area, that manufacturers are now only proposing turbines in excess of 150 meters high.

They also say that despite the 500 objections from residents, County Councillors, TDs and Senators, that the area is identified as a “potentially suitable area for wind energy development” according to the Westmeath County Development Plan 2008 – 2014.

An Bord Pleanala are due to make a decision on Galetech’s appeal on February 17, 2011, but this date is expected to be extended.

All submission regarding the appeal need to be made on or before November 3 this year.