Kerry County Council will object, in the strongest terms, to plans for a massive new wind farm close to Ballylongford.
In early January Shronowen Wind Farm Limited – a subsidiary of Dublin-based EMP energy – bypassed Kerry County Council and applied directly to An Bord Pleanála for permission to build a 12-turbine windfarm on Shronowen bog just south of the north Kerry village. Following a thorough examination of the site and the proposals, Kerry County Council strongly opposes the plan and, on Monday, management brought the detailed submission they intend to make to An Bord Pleanála before councillors for their approval.
In the submission – which was unanimously supported by councillors – the Council sets out numerous major problems with plans for the windfarm, which would see a dozen 150-metre-tall turbines erected in a low-lying area, within just five kilometres of 1,458 homes.
According to the damning council submission, the windfarm would “tower” over homes and farms in the area; create an unacceptable shadow flicker in 25 properties; and have a generally adverse impact on the quality of life “in a tranquil rural area”.
The Council is also deeply concerned that the windfarm would severely impact views on the Wild Atlantic Way route and damage local tourism. There are also fears that it would damage the local road network; put the area's water quality at risk and pose a danger to species and habitats in neighbouring Natura sites.
Cllr Aoife Thornton of Fine Gael strongly supported the proposed submission. She questioned how the “absolutely enormous” project had been allowed proceed during the COVID lockdown and accused its backer of a deliberate effort to disenfranchise the local community.
“So many thing have been stopped during this lock-down. Why is it that projects like this are able to proceed?” she said.
“In fact COVID was used as an excuse not to engage with the community,” she said.
“They held their meetings using webinars in an area known for poor broadband. That disenfranchised many people,” said Cllr Thornton.
Sinn Féin Cllr Tom Barry said the area has had its fill of windfarms.
“We here in north Kerry know more than anyone about the impact these turbines have on an area. There’s not many parts of north Kerry where you can’t see one of them. Enough is enough,” he said.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Jimmy Moloney was in agreement.
“The whole process around this application has to be questioned,” he said, adding that it is an issue for the whole county as turbines are “creeping in” to south Kerry.
“They’re too big and there’ too many of them. That’s what it boils down to,” he said.
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