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Planners should take a “precautionary approach” to the approval of wind turbines in the borough, a leading member of an environmental group has said.
Windwatch NI chair Dr Dan Kane made the recommendation in advance of an office meeting over two of the planned structures in Carrick Town Hall on Friday afternoon.
The session, attended by Dr Kane and planning consultant David Donaldson as well as local householders and councillors, saw residents raise their objections following a meeting last Monday attended by around 150 people.
“The approval of one of these turbine applications will often open the door for many others to appear, and that could mean people are going to be exposed to hundreds of these structures in their area,” Dr Kane claimed.
“Windwatch was set up to give a voice to the people who are not being heard, to the householders who are often accused by the wind industry of scaremongering if they have objections. There is no requirement for a developer to consult with the community before submitting a planning application for a wind turbine, and that is why there is such a strength of feeling about the issue in Carrick as many residents are only just finding out about it.”
With a number of health issues allegedly attributed to living in close proximity to a turbine, local officials may not have the expertise when it comes to measuring the impact of the structures, Dr Kane suggested.
“At one of the residential properties in Carrick, there is a rather unique situation in that a significant amount of light is reflected towards the property from Belfast Lough, with the turbine due to be in this line of sight. This raises great concerns over the intensity of the shadow flicker but it is something that the council officers just may not have the skills to deal with,” he said.
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