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Sinn Fein Councillor for Mid-Ulster Gavin Bell is calling on local councils and the Executive to oppose plans for wind turbines in the Sperrins and instead invest in the tourism in these areas.

Cllr Bell said: “Over recent years, we all seen, heard and debated hard, the subject of renewable energy sources and the benefits such schemes will have for our lives in years to come.

“Unfortunately, these schemes come with devastating effects to our locality. The scenes of natural beauty on display within ‘The Sperrins’, will soon be a memory of past, if these large money making energy firms and out of town landlords have their ways.

“I have spoken with many residents, in the areas most effected by these twisting turbines, and they are extremely anxious, upset and angry at attempts to dot our landscape with turbine after turbine.

“One local resident described the experience of living close to these monsters as, “Turbine Torture”. They continued to express disgust at how these large energy firms and their consultants target out of town landlords to fulfil their greedy capitalist ways, with no respect for the countryside nor the people living there.

“Having visited these sites, I can totally understand the concerns and raw emotions of the residents. While the majority of local residents agree renewable energy sources are a massive step forward in going green and reducing our carbon footprint, they do not believe they should be manipulated into accepting proposals at any cost. From just a simple look around, it is very evident there is also going to be a serious impact on wild life and their natural habitat, and, this can not be dismissed.

“In times of recession and austerity, one real positive which local people strive for, is to help local authorities develop the tourism potential of The Sperrins, which will be seriously hampered with the erection of these massive machines.

“I would call on local councils and The Executive to oppose such plans for the development of these sites and explore other possibilities, such as hydroelectricity and off-shore renewables.

“Residents can also rest assured that our team within Sinn Féin, will continue to press hard on opposing further disturbance and will fight whole heartedly so their voices are heard,” he concluded.