The Delvin, Raharney, Ballivor (DRB) Wind Action Group have called on Westmeath County Council to reject an application by Bracklyn Wind Farm to build a 100m high meteorological mast.
The mast is part of the testing programme for two wind farms planned for the area, by two separate companies, Galetech Energy and Bord na Mona.
If approved, the plans would mean the installation of 37 “monster” industrial wind turbines of up to 200m in height – which opposition groups claim will destroy the visual amenity of north and east Westmeath.
Delvin Wind Action Group has joined forces with neighbouring Raharney and Ballivor community groups, and the newly formed Delvin Raharney Ballivor (DRB) Wind Action Group is working to oppose what members call “the industrialisation of the rural landscape”.
“These two wind farms will be beside each other, in a low lying rural area, which has an abundance of diverse bird and animal species,” said Daryl Kennedy, spokesperson for DRB Wind Action Group. “They will comprise 37 industrial wind turbines – the highest turbines ever constructed in Ireland – and they will be in situ until at least 2040.”
“The current tallest onshore wind farms in the midlands are in Mount Lucas in Offaly, which has a turbine height of 150m; and the Sliabh Bawn Wind Farm in Roscommon, at a height of 130m.
“Bracklyn Wind Farm and Bord na Mona are now planning wind turbines of up to 200m, across 80,000 hectares of land between the villages of Delvin, Raharney, and stretching as far as Ballivor in our neighbouring County of Meath,” Mr Kennedy said.
“There are multiple areas for concern here including the destruction of the visual amenity of north and east Westmeath, the significant noise impact on homes and residents, the effect on property values, the destruction of important local bird species, and the concreting of the bogs,” says Mr Kennedy, adding, “there is no basis for wind farm need here, and no long-term jobs involved.”
“These monster turbines are almost four times the height of Mullingar Cathedral (52m) and almost 100% higher than both Dublin Spire (120m) or the Kinnegad Cement Factory (125m). The industrial wind farms have little or no support in the local community.
“What’s even more concerning is the Covid-19 lockdown, as the local community are prevented from holding public meetings or gatherings to discuss and review the impact,” he said.
“We call on Westmeath County Council to reject the facilitation of industrial windfarms in our county on the basis of the overwhelming negative impact for all of us, i.e. no proven net benefit to the local community, the county, nationally or globally.
“We will not accept 37 industrial turbines, at 200m in height, which would be in place for at least the next three decades.
“To understand the height, these will be almost twice the size of the Dublin spire, or the Kinnegad Cement Factory and four times the height of Mullingar Cathedral.
“They do not belong in the rolling rural landscape and farmlands of Westmeath, and they should not be approved or supported in any way by Westmeath County Council or our public representatives, locally or nationally.
“We believe this is the thin edge of the wedge, where taxpayers and consumers will pay a hefty price with no net benefit for communities or climate change. We hope to have the opportunity to present the true picture to our communities as soon as the ongoing Covid situation allows.”
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