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Campaigners in Gortin have vowed to continue their fight against plans for a wind farm in the area after confronting developers.
Around 50 protesters picketed an information event by wind industry giants Renewable Energy International (REI) on Wednesday evening. REI is currently in the process of putting together a planning application for 14 wind turbines on the Lisnaharney Road.
Residents, with the backing of campaign group West Tyrone Against Wind Turbines, say the development will carve up the countryside as well as divide the local community.
One of those opposed to the proposed wind farm is Michael Ward. He accused the wind industry of putting profit before people and said campaigners would do all within their power to thwart companies like REI.
Mr Ward said, “I’ve lived here all my life and we aren’t even allowed to cut turf any more yet these guys are being granted permission to put up 14 of these turbines at 125m high. There just doesn’t seem to be any planning restrictions for these developers and they seem to be able to build where they want.
“What they are doing is dividing our community and they don’t care. The nature of their business will divide people. Landowners stand to benefit financially from it and that creates conflict with the neighbours.”
The Gortin native said that up to 100 people stand to be affected by the Lisnaharney development. He added however that REI’s plans could only be the beginning.
“It is the tip of the iceberg for this area because if they get away with this development they will move on to another mountain and start building there.
“But we will do our best to stop them because we can’t stand back and see our townland wrecked without taking some sort of stance,” Mr Ward said.
During Wednesday night’s event, REI director Gavin Forkan came under strong pressure over his company’s plans.
‘NO SOLID PROOF’
Quizzed over the health implications of wind energy on those living close to turbines, Mr Forkan said he had not been provided with any solid proof there were any health issues.
“As far as I’m aware and as far as our noise consultants are aware, there are no proven health effects from low frequency noise at the distance our turbines are to be built at,” Mr Forkan said.
Asked what distance from homes they intended to build, the wind firm chief said, “as far as I know, on the Lisnaharney Road, it’s one kilometre.”
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