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Turbulent times: Residents claim wind farm plans will damage lives and countryside

Families in a picturesque rural area fear their lives and the local countryside will be destroyed by the erection of 17 huge wind turbines towering over the landscape.

A renewable energy company is seeking planning permission for the machines – measuring 150m high – across two sites either side of the Cork and Waterford border.

But people in the area who feel they have been ignored by the local council are determined to block the plan which they claim will blight their lives.

The Lyrenacarriga Wind Farm is proposed on 733 hectares of land 5km south-east of Tallow and 9km north-west of Youghal, Co Cork.

Part of the land is owned by the State forestry body Coillte.

The planning application is now with An Board Pleanala but local action group Blackwater Wind Aware claims the development will have a devastating impact on the region – economically, socially and personally – and is determined to stop the development.

The proposed scheme is designated as “infrastructural development”, which is subject to a High Court review granted to chairman of the Blackwater Wind Aware group Paddy Massey.

He described new guidelines governing the distance turbines must be from homes as “unfit for purpose” adding “people who have had to live in the shadow of wind turbines haven’t been listened to”.

Mr Massey said: “Lyrenacarriga wind farm would be visible from 45km in all directions and would be seen way beyond the county bounds.

“There are already three wind farms in the Blackwater Valley and the gentle, scenic, landscape and wildlife and biodiversity levels cannot absorb any more.”

Parents of newborn twins, Linda and David Walsh are terrified at the prospect of the wind farm going ahead. David said: “For the future of our children, growing up with these can only have a negative impact.

“Yes, turbines have a place for sustainable energy but far away, out at sea – not in land for the financial gain of the few.”

Former teacher and local resident Ava Farrington said while she is not against wind farms in general, she believed the proposed area is totally unsuitable.

She added: “While accepting that wind turbines have their place in a varied array of alternative energy sources, I genuinely believe such a development will irreparably harm this area.”

The firm behind the project, RWE Curns Energy Ltd /Highfield Energy, said the structures will be located at a minimum of 700m from dwellings under proposed new guidelines.

Those wishing to oppose the proposal must write to An Bord Pleanala, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin, before March 5.