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Consider solar energy and other green options to windfarms, say councillors in Cork

Off-shore windfarms and the use of solar energy should be considered instead of placing large wind turbines near rural communities in Co Cork.

That’s according to Cork county councillors, who have written a letter to An Bord Pleanála ahead of a decision it will make on a planning application for a windfarm on the Cork/Kerry border.

The letter is to be inserted into a report on the council’s attitude to the windfarm between Ballyvourney, Co Cork, and Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, which is being compiled by its chief executive, Tim Lucey.

The 38-turbine windfarm is being proposed by ESB.

Cllr Andrias Moynihan (FF) got cross-party support when he called for councillors views to be included in Mr Lucey’s report.

“It’s important to note that increasingly, rural communities are becoming unhappy with the proliferation of windfarms, especially where they are moving off remote hillsides and in among communities.

“A question arises as to whether alternative options, such as solar energy of offshore windfarms should be examined into the future.”

Councillors also put other issues into the letter. This included concern that there might be a potential threat to flora and fauna from the development.

Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) said the windfarm may not comply with the habitats directive.

She said that there were three places in Co Cork, which formed part of the development site, which the council’s own officials said could be impacted and these had not been properly addressed in the environmental impact statement which has been compiled by the developers.

“If Bord Pleanála is minded to grant planning permission for this application, then a realistic community fund should be put in place so that local communities can share in any potential profits,” Cllr Moynihan said.

“This community fund should be realistic and not a token gesture, it should be a substantial amount of money,” Cllr Bob Ryan (FF) said, insisting that this was contained in the council’s submission to the planning appeals board.

Mr Lucey agreed to put all of the councillors comments in the submission to Bord Pleanála.

Meanwhile, DePuy Synthes will unveil details today of its plans to build a second wind turbine next to its new manufacturing facility at Loughbeg, Ringaskiddy, in Co Cork.