August 21, 2013

Nenagh wind turbine proposal hits turbulence

Tipperary Star | 21 August 2013 |

A public meeting may yet be called on plans by Procter and Gamble to erect a wind turbine near their Nenagh plant to help cut energy costs. The company has held a series of meetings over the past few weeks with residents in the area on its proposal to place a 131-metre wind turbine in a field to the rear of the factory.

The turbine would help reduce energy costs at the factory, which employs 250 people, by around E750,000 a year and is aimed at helping it be more competitive in attracting business.

However, residents still have concerns over the turbine and at last week’s sometimes tense information session, there were calls for a public meeting on the issue.

That call was backed this week by Cllr Lalor McGee, who was at the meeting. “Personally, I have concerns. This will be an eyesore in the centre of town.

“This is not just a concern for the immediate residents of the eight estates around the factory, it is a concern for the whole town. I also have concerns over health. I would like a bit more information,” he told the Tipperary Star.

The Labour councillor said that the message he got at last week’s session was that P&G were “not inclined to call a public meeting”, and revealed he will be meet residents’ representatives to discuss holding a meeting and forming a committee.

“What is to stop another industry in town from doing something similar. You could have wind turbines sprouting up all over town,” he said.

Cllr McGee was also concerned about what would happen to the turbine if Procter ever left the town.

“You can’t guarantee they will be there forever. They want the residents to turn a blind eye because they employ 250 people. But health comes before jobs,” he said.

Meanwhile, at last week’s meeting, the residents said that a public meeting was required because “we are a community and if it affects one, it affects us all”.

The company moved to reassure them that the turbine would have little or no effect on house prices and would not hit television signals.

They are meeting the Derg Centre over any possible impact on ambulance signals. The meeting also heard that fires were infrequent at such turbines and noise would be minimal because the turbine would have no mechanical parts.

The independence of their surveys were questioned by one resident who highlighted that it was P&G who had hired firms to undertake the studies.

Meanwhile, the company will visit the seven houses in Richmond that will be directly affected by shadow and flicker from the turbine, a phenomenon that will only happen early morning from May to July.

Procter and Gamble has yet to submit a planning application for the turbine but hopes to have it lodged before the end of August.

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