Yet another group has been set-up in the county to address mounting concerns over wind energy as the turbines encroach on more heavily-populated, low-lying areas than seemingly ever before.
Scores attended a public meeting in Ballylongford last week as the community witnesses the erection of eight wind turbines, which will soar to 125m – 40 per cent taller than other recent turbines to have been recently put up in neighbouring Asdee.
And the group have their eyes firmly fixed on redressing what is seen as a major slight against North Kerry which paves the way for the expansion of renewable energy in the region: the Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) Report of 2012 which found most of North Kerry of no scenic value (including Ballybunion).
It’s the document that was referred to by An Bord Pleanála in its recent approval of a plan to erect the ten tallest turbines in Ireland in the Ballyhorgan area of Finuge against massive public resistance there.
“While it is understandable that landowners are tempted by the significant financial promises made to them by the energy companies behind these projects, we, as a community, must be aware of the facts and long-term effects of wind farms,” Tony Dowd of the newly-established Ballylongford group said.
The village is in the heart of an area ‘open to consideration’ and increasingly fear being hemmed in by massive turbines on all sides – at a time when the State is rushing to meet a target of generating 40 per cent of all electricity needs from renewables by 2020.
“One possible scenario is for a 139 per cent increase in turbines in Kerry, taking the total in North Kerry to over 300 turbines,” Mr Dowd said.
The LCA report has been a source of deep concern to the North Kerry Tourism Forum for sometime, as Chairman John O’Sullivan said:”The LCA is not an insignificant document. The massive issue that is being overlooked is that the LCA is the basis for deciding on planning zoning of North Kerry, and it is very much a live document.”