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Dairy farmer’s ‘grave concerns’ over effect of proposed ‘skyscraper’ wind turbines on animals

A dairy farmer has expressed his “grave concerns” over the impact that proposed “skyscraper” wind turbines may have on his animals.

Padraig O’Brien, a farmer in Co. Waterford, said he and his family are “vehemently opposed” to Lyrenacarriga Wind Farm in west Waterford and east Cork.

The developers, Curns Energy Ltd – a joint venture between RWE Renewables Ireland (formerly Innogy Renewables Ireland) and Highfield Energy – plan to erect 17 150m-high industrial wind turbines in the area, with a “large substation and battery storage facility on the Youghal water supply”.

‘These huge monstrosities’

O’Brien lives and works “right in the heart of the proposed wind farm”.

“I have grave concerns about the health of my animals and livelihood due to the effects of living in the middle of these giant moving skyscrapers,” he said.

“I hate to feel that we cannot pass on a sustainable business to the children when the time comes because of these huge monstrosities that are totally unnecessary here.

“They could make animals more nervous and excited, making them more dangerous to handle. Animals, especially dogs, horses and cows, are extremely sensitive to this noise.

“The construction of such a massive industrial project would also push fallow deer from forestry areas onto surrounding farmlands, potentially endangering local herds with TB.”

Water supply

While O’Brien and his family say they are “in favour of renewable energy”, he insists “there are other options that can be explored before they are forced upon” scenic communities.

“We [farmers] are expected to protect waterways and wildlife. We are strictly regulated by the government in this regard,” he continued.

“In our area we have a diverse range of wildlife – from deer, bats, owls, to birds of prey and a plethora in between.

“I find it ironic that these giant 150m-high steel turbines can be erected in pristine countryside, where it can have a detrimental effect on these animals.

O’Brien added that he is concerned about the development “disturbing the local water tables which will affect the local wells”.

“We rely on our wells for our water supply. There is a risk of these going dry as the massive foundations required to build each turbine really disturbs the existing underground water structure,” he said.

‘We will have to live with the visual scarring’

O’Brien and other residents in the area feel there has been “no meaningful consultation” with the developers.

“I am extremely upset by this as I feel this is being inflicted on me, my family and my community,” O’Brien said.

“We will have to live with the visual scarring, the noise pollution and the health effects of these turbines for the rest of our lives.

“Once again, I recognise the need for renewable energy, but we cannot let the cure be worse than the disease when it comes to these massive on-land wind turbines.”

Blackwater Wind Aware, a local community group resisting the proposed wind farm, is encouraging the west Waterford community “to scrutinise the planning application and turbine map of Lyrenacarriga Wind Farm” and to get in touch with the group before February 19 if one wishes to oppose the development.

An Bord Pleanála is expected to make a decision on the case by July 2021.