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Shercock wind farm project splits community  

Credit:  The Anglo-Celt, www.anglocelt.ie 29 June 2011 ~~

Residents and landowners in the Glasleck area of Shercock are split over plans by a local company, Taghart Energy, to build a €50m wind farm with up to 21 turbines. The McBreen family are behind the project, which secured planning permission from Cavan County Council on May 24. However, this has since been appealed to An Bord Pleanála by three parties including the applicant. The other appeals are in the names of Kirsten Roberts and Others, Glasleck and Kevin Deering, Swanlinbar.

Taghart Energy is also appealing one of the conditions of the planning permission, which stipulated that only 13 turbines could proceed; while the company had initially sought 24 turbines and later reduced this to 21.

Opposition

The original application to the local authority attracted huge opposition and as many as 59 submissions were made on the plans. One of the original objectors, who did not wish to be named, this week told The Anglo-Celt that many residents in the community have concerns about noise, traffic and the proximity of the turbines to homes and Corlea NS.

“They’re very close to houses, the nearest one is about 200 metres from a home. It’s too close,” said the local, who also pointed to the high levels of traffic expected during construction of the turbines.

It’s estimated that there will be 45,000 trips during installation and this has raised concerns about congestion, road safety and the deterioration of the roads network.

Jobs boost

Meanwhile, speaking to The Anglo-Celt this week, Cormac McBreen, one of those behind the development, said that if approved, the project would produce enough energy to run 25,000 households a year, create up to 50 jobs during installation and put up to €720,000 a year back into a community fund. After an 18-month installation period, up to three full-time jobs will be created.

He also said that 15 landowners in the area are partners in the project and would benefit to the tune of €380,000 a year. Pointing out that his family are fifth generation in the area and also live where the turbines will be located, Mr McBreen said he has no concerns about noise or health.

“This is a proven green technology. If we thought there were any potential health issues, we wouldn’t be living in the middle of it ourselves,” he said.

Regarding concerns about noise, Mr McBreen said: “The turbines we will be using are Enercon turbines. They are a gearless version. They’re a bit quieter, the least noisy of all turbines on the market. The technology would be a couple of decades ahead of the turbines for example that are already at Gartnanane.”

Mr McBreen also said that he, his father, Victor, and brother, Aidan, decided to form Taghart Energy and proceed with a wind farm project rather than see an outside company coming in and seizing the opportunity.

He said that he will now engage with the An Bord Pleanála inspector on the appeal and also emphasised that he is available to talk to anyone locally who has any concerns or queries about the project.

The planned development takes in the townlands of Glasleck, Kilcrossduff, Corlea, Taghart south, Crossmakeelan and Ralaghan. The turbines would be 64 metres high with a rotor diameter of 71 meters. The existing planning permission, which is under appeal, is for a period of 25 years.

The case is due to be decided by October 20.

Source:  The Anglo-Celt, www.anglocelt.ie 29 June 2011

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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