Kerry County Council looks set to impose a blanket ban on wind farms in an area that is home to the highest concentration of wind turbines so as not to disturb the protected hen harrier, a rare bird of prey.
The move has shocked the local wind energy industry, with spokesmen claiming that it will effectively shut down much of Kerry’s existing wind infrastructure.
However, the council says its hands are tied because of stringent EU directives to save the rare hawk. The large site, stretching from the Stacks Mountains to Mullaghareirk Mountains, and including the Mount Eagle area skirting the towns of Tralee, Castleisland and Ballydesmond, contains the biggest and earliest concentration of wind farms in Kerry.
It is also, under the EU birds directive, a special protection area for the hen harrier, with about 45 breeding pairs in the area.