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Residents have got the wind up over turbine plan

Residents in and around Dromara’s Mullaghdrin Road East have got the wind up about plans for an energy turbine they say will cause noise pollution, spoil the local landscape, endanger wildlife, devalue property and more.

The proposal currently before planners would put a wind turbine, of up to 250Kw and rising to a height of 55m from base to blade-tip (higher, as some protesters have pointed out, than the 51.59m Nelsons’ Column) approximately 106m North East of 24 Mullaghdrin Road East,

A campaign of opposition has been picking up speed, with posters urging locals to object.

‘Do you want this on your skyline?’ the posters demand, noting that the plans involve “a full-size commercial turbine” and not a domestic farm unit. There’s a caution too, that, if approved, the unit might be the first of many in the “well populated rural area”.

Information about the application on the Planning Service’s website includes some 70 letters of objection, among them one from an eight year-old boy and a number from “horrified” or “distraught” nearby residents who claim they were not officially alerted to the plans, though the site indicates that “neighbours have been notified”.

Common grounds for objection include the sheer size of the planned turbine and its visual impact; an insistence that the noise from the turbine

“would completely destroy the peace and tranquillity of the area”; electrical interference with televisions, radios and mobile phones; the effect on farm animals, horses and wildlife; property devaluation and the proposal’s potential as a precedent for more of the same.

Others take in concerns about the “scarring” of the landscape during and after construction, as well as fears for residents’ own health and safety.

Dromara Councillor Paul Stewart met with concerned residents on Thursday, having been contacted on the issue, he said, by “a high number of constituents”.

Speaking ahead of that meeting he said he had already spoken to the Department about the matter and had been advised residents’ concerns would be taken on board.

It was unlikely, he said, that planners would make a recommendation until much later this year, perhaps September or October, at which point it would go before Lisburn City Council’s Planning Committee, of which he was vice-chairman.

This is the second time in recent months that Dromara has found itself in the eye of a wind turbine storm, though in February this year it was planners’ refusal of a proposed unit at Slieve Croob that had Banbridge councillors protesting the number of rejected plans at a time, they said, when there was such widespread promotion of renewable energy.