A plan to erect one of the largest windfarms ever in the North on 6,000 acres of land in the Glenelly Valley has been branded as ‘utter madness’ by a campaign group.
The proposal – which is currently at the pre-application stage – will see 60 turbines constructed on the Blakiston-Houston Estate between Cranagh, Goles and Broughderg near Greencastle.
If given the go-ahead, the Sperrins plan would dwarf even the largest existing windfarms at locations such as Bessy Bell near Newtownstewart.
News of the application comes ahead of a previously organised public information night about windfarms which takes place in Broughderg Community Centre, Greencastle, this Sunday night at 7pm.
The proposal is due to be considered at a meeting of Strabane District Council next week.
But Owen McMullan chairman of West Tyrone Against Wind Turbines said the move to construct more turbines in the area could destroy the Sperrins as a popular tourist location.
“This is utter madness because at the moment thousands of people visit the Sperrins annually. It has been named as one of the top 101 scenic drives in the whole world and is one of only eight areas of outstanding natural beauty in the North,” he said.
“There are ongoing attempts to promote the Sperrins as a top location for recreation, yet an application such as this puts all that at risk.
“It is staggering to witness the number of applications for windfarms already in West Tyrone and this will only exacerbate this. People are becoming increasingly tuned into what is going on here and how our landscape is being so badly affected.”
Mr McMullan accused the planning service of “steamrolling” many applications for wind turbines through the system.
Glenelly Sinn Féin councillor, Dan Kelly, expressed his alarm at the proposal. “Details of the proposal have still not been made public, but the impact of this windfarm proposal would be devastating on the Glenelly Valley,” he said.
“The Tourist Board highlights and nominally promotes the Glenelly Valley and the wider Sperrin Mountains as one of those vast unspoilt wildernesses.
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