More than a dozen residents from the Annacurra area came out in force to block the road near their homes and land in protest against the grid connection works associated with Ballycumber Wind Farm.
The protest started at 8.30 a.m. yesterday (Tuesday) when locals gathered to prevent a work crew from digging up the road.
‘The crew had a road sweeper and a digger so we stood in front of it in civil protest,’ said a local man.
‘They called the guards and they came and listened to both sides but as there was no physical threat to either side, they deemed it to be a civil matter,’ he added.
Members of South Wicklow Wind Action Group (SWWAG) John O’Driscoll and Richard More O’Ferrall were also present and read a statement to the workmen.
‘We read our statement and told them that it is our view that as they are digging beneath the surface of the road, people’s private property is in danger of being disturbed. These people had not been consulted and therefore are seeking legal advice,’ Mr More O’Ferrall said.
The group holds the view that a separate planning application is required for grid connection, separate to a wind farm application.
Ballycumber Wind Farm has been granted full planning permission by Wicklow County Council and a Section 5 exemption for grid connection works, but this is currently under review by An Bord Pleanála with a decision due by October 25.
The residents fear that the grid connection works will be completed by this date and that they will have no recourse if the board overturns the council’s decision.
Wicklow County Council previously indicated that the developer is fully compliant with planning conditions set out.
‘The only option we have now is to get a High Court injunction and we are currently gathering funds,’ the local resident added.
‘We do not believe that any private company is entitled to a Section 5 exemption. These are not ESB crews and just because it will be handed over to the ESB once connected, does not entitled the private company to this exemption,’ he added.
The protest came to a conclusion in the early afternoon when the works crew moved to a separate section of the road to commence their work.
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