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Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary lends voice to anti-turbine campaign

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary has objected to what is seen as a major wind farm proposed for lands near Delvin.

BMA Planning and Development Consultants, acting on behalf of Gigginstown Stud, have appealed to An Bord Pleanala against the recent decision of Westmeath County Council to grant planning permission to a wind energy firm for the retention of meteorological mast, as well as an increase in its height, from 80 to 100 metres.

The mast is viewed as a prelude to not one but two wind farms proposed for the area.

Gaeltech Energy Services, a Cavan-based wind energy firm, has plans for a wind farm of nine turbines with an electricity output of up to six megawatts per turbine, on lands at Bracklyn, near Delvin.

The proposed height of the turbines, at 180 metres, would make them some of tallest turbines in the country and is to be known as Bracklin Wind Farm.

BMA Consultants said Gigginstown Stud had a direct interest in this development because it owned 180 acres of lands adjoining the Bracklyn Estate – which is the proposed site of the development, and as such have a direct interest in the future planning and development of the area.

BMA appealed on the grounds that there was insufficient information regarding the impact of the development, on the landscape and ecology, wildlife, habitat, visual and residential amenity.

“If, as appears to be the case, the mast is a precursor to a planning application for a large scale Wind Farm project (with masts taller than any other in Ireland) which is currently being promoted in the locality, then the planning application should disclose this,” states BMA Consultants.

It said that while Gigginstown acknowledged that both national policy and the County Development Plan are in favour of renewable energies, “this policy is not absolute and is not to be abused”.

“It is of concern to my clients that generous planning exemptions offered to promoters of wind energy are now routinely being extended far beyond the 15-24 months envisaged when the Regulations and Guidelines were introduced.”

The consultants on behalf of Gigginstown further criticised the lack of any ecological or environmental reports about the impact of the existing mast on the site.

Thirty objections were lodged against the development with Westmeath County Council, while Delvin Wind Information Group, which also lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála, claimed the area is unsuitable for wind farms because of its low wind capacity.

Meanwhile, a second wind farm is proposed for the area by Bord na Móna Powergen.

It wants to construct 26 turbines on lands at Ballivor, Bracklin, Carranstown, Lisclogher and Lisclogher West. The project is known as Ballivor Wind Farm will see turbines of 200m in height if it gets the green light.