Ballindaggin residents Philip and Catherine Hickey have declared their opposition to the wind farm they feel has blighted their lives.
The couple failed recently in their objection to planning permission being granted for an entrance to the six turbines scattered across the hill behind their neat bungalow. However, the Hickeys are considering an appeal to An Bord Pleanála and they have not ruled out the possibility of taking their case to the courts.
They insist that the nearest of the giant windmills behind their home is too close to their house, leaving them to cope with the noise. And they also suffer from an unpleasant flickering effect in the mornings whenever the sunlight catches the rotating blades.
Kiltealy native Catherine and her Manchester-born husband Philip were granted planning permission for their dream home in 2006. They had a site on a hillside in Ballylusk blessed with spectacular views of Mount Leinster and the countryside around Castledockrell.
They moved in during 2007, the same year in which Ballindaggin Green Energy (since replaced by Castledockrell Wind Energy) was granted planning permission for their turbines. At that stage, according to Philip Hickey, around 100 locals signed a petition opposing the development. However, their objections were turned away by officials in the county council who ruled that they were submitted a day late.
While others who signed the petition have since dropped their opposition, Philip and Catherine have not become reconciled to the presence of a turbine, which began to turn in February of this year. Since then they have had to endure a constant noise resembling light aircraft whenever the breeze is blowing.
The sound, which varies in intensity depending on wind speed and direction, gives Catherine a problem with her vertigo while Philip suffers headaches.
They no longer enjoy sitting out in their garden where they take the full brunt of the sounds that even double glazing sometimes cannot exclude when they are inside the building.
They can see three of the six turbines and the closest of the six is within 400 metres of the bungalow, well inside the 500 metre exclusion zone which is considered the norm. The result is that, on sunny mornings, shortly after 9 a.m. the light flickers, like a neon light on the blink. It is a very uncomfortable effect.
‘ The closest tower is in the wrong place,’ says Philip Hickey, determined not to lie down under the problem. ‘We have a valid objection. We are going to have to highlight our plight. I will stick up for myself.
‘Our home is the only thing we own and it has been wiped out. I want to open the windows whenever I want without noise coming in.’
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