The company behind a controversial wind turbine in Barnmeen has stopped the turbine until repairs are carried out to help noise levels.
The decision to halt the blades for two weeks comes in the wake of a meeting of Barnmeen Residents’ Group last week.
Neighbours are concerned about the turbine’s noise and its impact on the nearby community and environment.
Ballee & Harryville Community Enterprise from Ballymena, a social economy project and charity, told this paper that the turbine will be stopped until measures are taken to quieten it with further “acoustic insulation material”.
Charity chairman, Brian Holmes said: “We are conscious of neighbourly relations and have been made aware that some nearby residents would like measures taken to quieten the turbine, so we are planning to fit further acoustic insulation material in the next two weeks.
“Further, to minimise resident concerns, we have unilaterally taken a decision to stop the turbine running until this additional acoustic insulation material has been installed.” Mr Holmes said the charity initially hoped to install turbines in the Ballymena borough but no turbine sites met the minimum standard required .
The group looked at possible projects outside the Ballymena area and assessed approximately 70 sites before being approached by Master Wind Turbines regarding two sites – one in Barnmeen outside Rathfriland.
Mr Holmes said both sites met conditions agreed with council so the charity proceeded to develop both sites with private company, Master Wind Turbines.
An application was first lodged for a turbine in the Barnmeen area on privately held ground in 2012 and, after initially being refused, was passed in 2013.
However, residents say they knew nothing about the application and the first they knew was in March this year when work was being carried out in a field for the existing one on the Barnmeen Road.
The residents’ group claims the existing turbine is the 2017 amended application which hasn’t been approved.
Meanwhile, a planning application was received on 9 March this year for permission to install an alternative type of wind turbine with different noise characteristics.
A noise impact assessment is understood to have been submitted and its status currently stands as ‘under consideration’ online.
At the time of going to press, there were 18 written objections to the application change.
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