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Bally windfarm decision due

Objectors who have opposed a planning application for the erection of 14 wind turbines on sites between the villages of Ballydesmond and Gneeveguilla will learn the result of An Bord Pleanala decision which is due today.

There were up to four public meetings held by Sliabh Luachra Windfarm who are vehemently against the 14 planned turbines which would measure 150 metres in height.

A planning application was submitted by Silver Birch Renewables to erect the turbines, which would extend across 15 individual landholdings in the townlands of Tooreenagarriv, Ballynahulla, Barna, Knocknageeha, Lisheen, Reanasup and Reaboy.

The wind turbine company wants to locate two turbines in Barna, one in Knocknageeha, two in Reanasup, one in Lisheen, three in Reaboy and five in Ballynahulla. The decision by An Bord Pleanala was due a few weeks ago but has now been set for Thursday, December 14. However, this could again be put back to another date.

At the previously held public meetings, there was a robust public rejection of the turbines and the planning application received a flurry of objections which totally more than 50 formal objections along with a group objection which had in excess of 180 signatures.

At a public meeting held in Gneeveguilla, Thomas Fitzpatrick and Shaun O’Rourke who are homeowners in Ballydesmond both said they would be greatly affected should the planning be granted the green light.

In his objection, Mr Fitzpatrick said the proposed turbines would have an imposing presence on his house, as well as from a school and roads perspective. If planning is granted, one turbine would be approximately 600 metres from his front door and would tower over his house.

He said it would be “near impossible” to sell properties locally and he claimed he would also be affected by ‘light flicker’ from the blades.

He previously told The Corkman that the planned 150m turbines would be among the tallest in the country. “No one wants these and they are of no benefit to the region,” he said.

Kerry County Council shot down Silver Birch Renewables Ltd’s application in early June and so began the long road to An Bord Pleanala.

Back in June, Mr Fitzpatrick told The Corkman that residents were happy that the planners at Kerry County Council had taken on board their strong views, as many had cited grounds such as environmental, noise, visual, health, depreciation of property to the endangered species such as the hen harrier.

‘Many of our grounds of strong objection has in turn mirrored the decision by Kerry County Council,” he said.

It was his view in June that An Bord Pleanala take on board the view of the planning department at Kerry County Council.

The Sliabh Luachra Awareness Group also held information evenings back in June for the community. One stall at that time which garnered a lot of attention was Fred O’Sullivan’s at which he had a detailed presentation on the size of the turbines.

To demonstrate the height of the turbines, he had outlined how the Cathedral in Killarney is 80.30 metres in height but the turbines are 60 metres higher than this again. To bring it closer to home, a two story house is less than 20 metres in height. He also had a map of where each turbine would go and they were dotted less than 1km from peoples’ homes, in some instances.

During one of the public nights, they played the humming sound of a turbine at 750 metres and Mr O’Sullivan said that people found it “annoying.”

“But that was our entire point to show everyone just what it is like to be a near a turbine. It is worth pointing out that [some of] the proposed turbines are to be placed 500 metres from people’s homes, so the sound would without question be worse,” he said in June.

The Corkman has previously sought a comment from Silver Birch Renewables but did not receive a reply.