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Meat plant turbine suffers blow

Planners have turned down an application to allow a 169 metre tall wind energy turbine be built near Ballyjamesduff.

If granted it would have been the second such turbine installed to produce renewable energy for the Seamus Mallon-owned Liffey Meats beef processing plant.

The proposed turbine would have also dwarfed that which already exists by almost 20 metres. However, the submission received almost two dozen separate submissions, including many from neighbours living locally who complained extensively about issues such as “shadow flicker” from the existing turbine, noise, and impact the new development would have on the landscape.

The application to build at Kilquilly and Cloggagh was submitted to Cavan County Council back in 2019 by Liffey Energy Limited. It consisted of a ten year permission to erect the single wind turbine, together with all other associated site development.

At the time of its construction in 2017 the existing turbine was one of the largest in Ireland and installed at a cost close to €500,000.

The proposed second turbine was conservatively predicted as being capable of generating approximately 818,400 kwh per month. In combination with the existing turbine, they would produce 1.36 kwh of electricity annually, thus making the plant “relatively self-sufficient” , and “only requiring assistance” from the national grid during low wind periods or maintenance.

Planning has already been granted to Liffey Meats for an expansion to facilitate an increase in processing shelf-ready products. This is expected to require a substantial increase in electricity usage, claimed Gaeltech, expert consultants employed by the applicant.

They add, not only is the proposed development key to Liffey Meats’ “focus” in decreasing it’s carbon footprint, but it also represented an “important component” of meeting targets under the Bord Bia Origin Green programme.

It was submitted that 44 dwellings are located within 1.27km or 10-times rotor diameter of the proposed turbine.

Among the submissions was one by Ballyjamesduff Community Council Ltd which recognises that the existing turbine “is already a significant annoyance” to many residents of the area.

Another submissions from a neighbour of the plant alleged the noise level of the existing turbine was “significant” and flicker effect mediation employed already is “not working”.

A new turbine they added would cause “lifelong irritation”, affect “mental and physical well-being”, and furthermore cause devaluation of property in the area.

These concerns were shared in other submissions made.

The application was refused after a Senior Staff officer stated, on the basis of the information submitted, the Planning Authority could not be “satisfied” that the proposed development would not seriously injure amenities or depreciate the value of property in the vicinity if granted.

It was stated, having regard to the “cumulative” impacts of the proposed development if proceeded with, that planners were “not satisfied” impact on the environment could be excluded, and concluded by saying to grant permission would as a result “be contrary to proper planning” in the local area.