August 29, 2012

Court action considered over windfarm plans

Enniscorthy Guardian | 28 August 2012

Residents of the Bunclody area may take the Government to court over plans to put scores of wind turbines in the hills around the town.

Bunclody already has 22 of the green energy windmills dotted around the uplands of Ballindaggin, Castledockrell and Kilbranish.

Now a growing number of householders are concerned that they may be faced with a noise nuisance or flickering light caused by the rotation of the giant blades.

Bunclody community council hosted a meeting on the topic last week when residents were reminded that plans for more than 20 new turbines are in the offing.

‘There is concern about the cumulative visual impact,’ commented Lorna Moorhead from Corragh who is worried that the view from her home will be dominated by the windmills. ‘There is a need for independent assessment of the environmental impact.’

Meanwhile work has been going ahead in the laying of roads to serve a wind farm on Gibbet Hill to the east of the town.

The possibility of legal challenge is based on a claim that independent environment impact studies have not been carried out as required by the EU.

However, officials in Wexford County Council believe that the issue it is too late to reverse planning permissions already granted for sites at Gibbet Hill, Johnstown and across the county border in Carlow.

Ms. Moorhead stated that a fighting fund could be put in place very quickly if unhappy residents decide to embark on legal action.

Among those at the meeting was Cllr. Pat Cody. The Labour representative remarked: ‘maintaining positive levels of social acceptance of wind energy is important and there are obviously sensitivities as to the approach to be taken.’

He suggested that it would be very difficult to reverse planning permissions granted to companies such as Ballindaggin Green Energy and Abo Wind who have made substantial investments towards generating renewable power in line with national policy.

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