Cork county councillors have decided by a significant majority to tell An Bord Pleanála they are not in favour of a proposed major windfarm on the East Cork/West Waterford border.
The planning board had sought views of local authority planners and elected representatives ahead of making a decision on whether to allow Curns Energy Ltd to build 17 large turbines, each up to a maximum overall blade tip height of up to 150 metres and one meteorological mast with a maximum height of up to 112 metres on a hilly site north of Killeagh, Co Cork, which stretches into Tallow, Co Waterford.
The application is being made directly to An Bord Pleanála via the Strategic Infrastructure Development provisions, which allows it to bypass Cork and Waterford councils’ planning departments.
The document submitted by Cork County Council planners to the board spans 338 pages.
Councillors were told by their chief executive, Tim Lucey, they are allowed input into the document, but it has to be presented to An Bord Pleanála no later than March 19 and as there won’t be a full council meeting before that they have to have their say now.
Fianna Fáil councillor Ann-Marie Ahern said the proposed project would “have a huge impact on people living in East Cork and West Waterford” adding she isn’t in favour of it going ahead.
She sought a deferment of the debate but when told of the deadline for their submissions had to agree to it going ahead, even though councillors had only received the highly detailed 338-page report some 48 hours earlier.
County Mayor Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley told councillors: “I presume we’ll object to it.” She pointed out that she wasn’t happy with it because the development is close to the source of the water supply to her hometown of Youghal.
Fianna Fáil councillor William O’Leary said there has been little or no public consultation on the project and backed local communities battling against it.
Fine Gael councillor Liam Madden also said he’d vote against it while Ms Linehan-Foley added that from what she is led to believe “some of these turbines will nearly be in people’s back gardens”. Fine Gael councillor Gerard Murphy was one of just two councillors who said he supported the green energy plan, especially as there are a lot of wind turbines in his own area of North-West Cork.
Ms Ahern then formally proposed that councillors reject the plan and it went to a vote at which 36 councillors voted to reject, two voted in favour and six abstained. Among the six were the council’s two Green councillors.
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