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Almost 300 submissions expected on Dysart wind farm plans  

Credit:  The Westmeath Independent, www.westmeathindependent.ie 24 November 2010 ~~

An Taisce has called for a bird monitoring programme to put in place in the Dysart area of Roscommon by the company behind €80 million plans for a wind farm prior to an official decision on the development early next month.

The submission by An Taisce is part of huge tranche of written submissions received by the local authority in the last few days prior to the deadline, which could to exceed 300 once processing is complete.

A spokesperson for the local authority said the large number of submissions submitted are a mixture of for and against the development, however, it’s believed the majority are opposing the proposals. The date for submissions to be lodged has now passed, the council also confirmed prior to an official verdict on the €80 million development on December 9.

In its written statement to Roscommon County Council, The National Trust for Ireland contended that there are a number of birds of conservation concern, both on a national and international scale which have the potential to be adversely impacted by the proposed development.

“More baseline data of the bird species present within this area should be gathered prior to any construction works being carried out, especially as there are a number of other wind farms which are being and may be constructed in this are, baseline data and continued monitoring is essential to establish the effects of wind farms on the populations of avifauna and fauna in the area.” In addition, An Taisce argues that a Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Plan should be drawn up by the developers and submitted to the council prior to a verdict being announced. The organisation, which sets out to protect Ireland’s built and natural heritage, points out that a number of mitigation measures have been proposed to alleviate some of the impacts of the wind farm development, all of which they feel should be developed into a plan to enhance the habitats as well as putting forward an integrated management proposal for the overall application site.

A bat survey according to An Taisce, identified the Leisler bat as being present within the survey area, something they expressed concern for as a bat mortality survey in the University of Calgary, Canada revealed that the drop in air pressure caused by the whirling blades of turbines was causing the lungs of bats to burst. While An Taisce acknowledged the presence and use of the site by bats is likely to be low, the environmental organisation contended that corpse searches should be carried out for bats and birds by an ecological consultant.

Meanwhile, the submissions lodged by local people centre on three main concerns, those being visual impact, noise pollution and health issues, with one published on the council website stating that the noise levels and the ensuing stress they feel is inevitable could cause cancer, insomnia and epilepsy.

Describing the proposed turbines as “overbearing in the locality” the resident, Lillie McDonnell of Ballyline, Curraghboy said they would also constitute a visual blot on the beautiful countryside, adding that the proximity to houses of the turbines would mean that the noise levels would be “unacceptable” in her view.

Source:  The Westmeath Independent, www.westmeathindependent.ie 24 November 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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