Laois County Council has given Coillte the go ahead for a controversial wind farm grid connection from their proposed Cullenagh wind farm to the ESB sub-station on the Abbeyleix Road in Portlaoise.
Despite a large volume of objections to the application, the county planners gave their permission with 12 conditions attached.
This now opens the door for Coillte to erect 18 wind turbines on more than 1,468 acres of lands between Ballyroan and Timahoe and to proceed with cabling from there to the ESB sub-station on the Abbeyleix Road in Portlaoise.
There were 31 submissions to the planning application. Just one, Inland Fisheries Ireland, said it had no objection to the grid connection provided eight of its conditions were met.
Many objectors to the grid connection stated that the proposed route of the cable runs over their lands and that they have not granted Coillte right of way over their lands.
One woman’s objection was based on the proximity of the 38kV electrical line that would run to Ballyroan girls school.
She wrote: “I note that while there remains uncertainty regarding the link between electric and magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia, the Advanced Research on Interaction Risk Assessment have stated that ‘the relationship between extremely low frequency magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia remains consistent with possible carcinogenicity in humans. In the case of any uncertainty regarding health of young children close to high voltage lines, it is imperative that Cóillte uses alternative options.”
Other objections pointed out that Coillte had proceeded with the grid work ahead of approval been given by the council and, as such, their planning application should be deemed invalid and that an application for planning retention should have been submitted.
The Ballyroan-based opponents of the Cullenagh wind project Farm People Over Wind as well as The Swan, Luggacurren, Wolfhill, Stradbally Wind Group made submissions to the application, which were accompanied by signed petitions objecting to the plans.
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