A proposed wind turbine for the Dunamallaght Road in Ballycastle which has received more than 40 objections is causing widespread concern in the local area.
The proposal has yet to come before Council but a turbine erected in 2014 already stands feet from where the proposed one would go.
Speaking to The Chronicle, local man Mr Patrick Casement explained: “A previous wind turbine was erected back in March 2014 and sat idle for six months. When planning permission was approved there was dense woodland there. It was bad enough knowing it was there, but now the trees have been felled it sits there completely exposed, you can see it from everywhere!”
Mr Casement says he is deeply concerned what the impact of a second turbine nearby will have on the landscape.
He added: “With the first turbine, everything went through so quickly no-one really had the chance to object, in fact I think mine was the only one. This time, due to the existence of the first turbine, more people are objecting. A lot of these people didn’t see the first application in order to object to it, but now they see the ramifications of the first – they are objecting in their droves.”
Whilst there is strong support in Moyle for renewable energy, Mr Casement says there’s a right time and a right place, but the proposed site is “completely wrong”.
According to Mr Casement, the proposed turbine doesn’t adhere to several of the key tenets of PPS 18 ‘renewable energy’ .
He added: “There are environmental ramifications; the application didn’t have an accompanying Environmental Statement given that it lies within an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and affects two Landscape Character Areas that are of high sensitivity. One would have thought the Statement for the existing turbine inadequate because it cannot take account of the cumulative effect, and relied heavily on the screening effect of the forestry, which has now been felled.”
It seems that locals and residents of nearby Ballycastle town are concerned that if this second turbine gets the green-light, it may open the flood gates to allow even more turbines on the same site.
Mr Casement said: “Our concern is that it would be difficult for planners to say no to more, I worry that if this is agreed to, it will set a precedent. We have designated AONBs, why litter them with turbines?
“No matter where you go locally, you see this blight on the landscape, from the beach, from the Quay Road, from Bonamargy, everywhere along the main coastal route. We don’t need another turbine and I would appeal to planners to to see the bigger picture. We are supportive of renewable energy, just not in this way.”
A second local man, Francis McGinn said the proposal should have been up for public debate, adding that these are industrial sized turbines, and in his eyes, a wind farm.
He told The Chronicle: “For a start, these are no ordinary turbines, don’t be fooled, they’re not like the ones at Corrymeela, these are industrial sized turbines. I cannot believe planners are even considering this in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“They’re ugly! This turbine is the only thing that stands out between here and Rathlin Island.
“Green energy is about so much more than wind turbines – where are the trees? There’s no place here for wind turbines! They’re now old technology!
“I know the applicant and it’s not him I have a problem with, it’s the planners that are even considering this in our area! It’s the way they’re going about it.
“They’re going to take the beauty away by covering it in ugly turbines, we’ll lose the title! And once there’s one, there’s no end to them. Our Councillors are to shoulder some blame here too, there’s no pride in the town anymore, no pride in the beauty we have on our doorsteps.”
The Chronicle believes, given the time restraints, that the application is unlikely to come before Moyle District Council.
A source close to Council confirmed: “There’s one turbine at the proposed site already and I don’t think local people would be happy with a second one. Although we are still in support of renewable energy, this way isn’t ideal. In a forest, windmills are less conspicuous, but not in the proposed location. It’s unlikely the application will come before Moyle Council before it finishes, so it will more than likely be a decision for the Causeway Coast and Glens Council.”
A DOE spokesman said: “On receipt of the application the Department was required under the EIA legislation to determine whether the application required an environmental statement. On 13 November 2014 the Department determined that an environmental statement was not required as the environmental effects are not likely to be significant.
“This application and any further applications will be considered on their own planning merits. Our records indicate that to date 43 objections have been received.”
The Chronicle contacted the agent working for the applicant but at the time of going to press, no response had been received.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding