August 20, 2014

‘Shocking’ health implications, claim wind farm protesters

Donal Nolan | The Kerryman | 20/08/2014 |

Hundreds in the Finuge area are this week reading a harrowing document setting out what local wind farm protesters claim are the shocking health implications of renewable energy technology worldwide.

The eight-page document was circulated on Monday as a local campaign against plans to erect the ten tallest turbines in Ireland, close to hundreds of homes in low-lying Finuge, ramps up.

Kerry County Council received its largest ever slew of objections to any plan in its history earlier this year as 269 objections to the development were lodged by locals. The volume of objections to the plans submitted by company Stacks Mountain Windfarm Ltd was as the result of the vociferous campaign being run by the North Kerry Wind Turbine Awareness Group (NKWTAG); formed to highlight what members say could be the damaging environmental and health effects of the Finuge wind farm.

The NKWTAG garnered massive local support through a series of public meetings and innovative publicity campaigns, which included the flying of a balloon to the 156-metre height of the intended turbines last February.

Lasy Friday, Kerry County Council received the further information planners had requested on the initial submission of plans from Stacks Mountain Windfarm and locals now have until September 17 to make submissions on the final plan.

“We’re expecting anywhere up to 400 submissions to be lodged by then,” chairperson of the NKWTAG Gerry Doyle told The Kerryman.

The group believes that if the turbines go up people’s health will deteroriate as a result of noise pollution, light flicker and other factors. But they also say the plan could open north Kerry for the widespread development of windfarms which would impact the region’s growing tourism industry badly.

Enerco Energy – the parent of company of Stacks Mountain Windfarm Ltd – previously told The Kerryman the firm has carried out ‘extensive studies’ of wildlife, archaeology, ‘hydrology and every aspect’ of natural life in the area to put a comprehensive impact assessment together. They also say light flicker would be constantly monitored to ensure no home would experience it for longer than 30 minutes in any day.

The latest turn in the protest campaign is hitting locals hard this week as they read about the alleged effects of wind farms in other parts of the country, and worldwide, however.

“It is a shocking document, but that’s what is happening as a result of this technology,” Mr Doyle added.

“We are very concerned too that, even if Kerry County Council refuse permission, An Bord Pleanála will grant permission. We have serious questions over the way in which the appeals board is constituted.

“Minister Phil Hogan appointed four more members of the board prior to his departure and we question the board’s independence when members are appointed like this by Government. There should be an independent authority to appoint people to the board,” Mr Doyle said.

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