‘I’m not anti-wind. It’s about the right development in the right place,” says Edel Grace of Kilcommon Upperchurch Wind Awareness Group. It plans to take a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s approval of an €80 million wind farm, to be built by Ecopower Developments, between the two Co Tipperary villages.
Grace says one of the turbines will be too close to her house. “From our measurements the nearest turbine will be 363m from our house, which is less than the minimum requirements. We pointed this out to the county council and to An Bord Pleanála, but there is no reference made to it in any of the reports.”
She is concerned about the potential noise and shadow flicker from the turbines. “I started my own craft business last June. I make teddy bears using a sewing machine, and the light is hugely important to me. And, although I’m a healthy person, I have sensitive hearing, and I’m worried about the noise when sleeping at night. There are other families with health problems and disabilities.”
Kilcommon Upperchurch Wind Awareness Group is made up of about 12 families whose properties are along the line of hills between the two villages. “Some people who objected were given pat answers, like ‘Your house will be triple-glazed, and there will be no problem with noise,’ but we haven’t heard anything more about this.”
Grace and her husband, Paul, bought their 19th-century cottage in 2005 and moved in permanently the following year. “It will ruin everything we’ve worked for and completely devalue our property. Although it’s not only about money: we moved here for a sustainable life. We have rare-breed cattle on four and a half acres, and I want to develop my craft business and a craft trail with other local crafters.”
Grace says the wind-farm project in Tipperary has created animosity in the community between those who will benefit financially from the wind farm and those who won’t. “We’re considered blow-ins. We were attracted here by the beauty of the Slieve Felim Mountains. There are other members of our group involved in protecting biodiversity.”
Bord Pleanála’s granting of permission to Ecopower Developments follows its granting of planning permission for another large wind farm in north Co Tipperary last month. “I will also personally challenge this decision to put wind turbines on Keeper Hill, which is a protected area and breeding ground for the hen harrier.
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