Residents between Monasterevin and Rathangan have another four weeks to wait to find out if the decision to refuse the five huge turbines planned for Ummeras bog which was refused last week (19 March) by Kildare County Council will be appealed to An Bord Pleanala.
“I would be 100 per cent sure they’ll go to An Bord Pleanala,” said Mary Fanning, spokesperson for the residents’ group which has opposed the plan since first mooted.
“They’ve put €10m into this according to some, and they have a month – 15 April – to do this. Who know? I hope justice will prevail,” said Mary.
Statkraft – the Cork-based firm behind the project – were asked as to their intentions going forward, but have not replied before going to press.
A total of 170 submissions were made to Kildare County Council’s planning department in relation to the five 169m turbines proposed for the site just north of Monasterevin.
The primary reason for refusal was the turbines sitings in line with Air Corps routes into both The Curragh and Baldonnel, while the Irish Aviation Authority had concerns with regard to flight pathe to the west of the location at the Irish Parachute Club in Clonbullogue.
“The Planning Authority would have serious aviation safety concerns…(that the proposed turbines) would negatively impact Air Corps operations,” said the planning report.
The planners also had concerns with the proposal’s Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) “which doesn’t adequately assess significant environmental impacts” concerning biodiversity, hydrology, noise, and tourism.
It noted that there are 400 houses within two kilometres, 150 homes within one kilometre of the proposed site, with 12 houses within 800m, and 53 properties within a kilometer radius.
The report also said the 18th century canal bridges of the neighbourhood would not be capable to take all the HGV traffic required to erect the turbines, the 11kms of cabling required would disrupt local traffic adversely, and as the turbines were planned to be brought to site from neighbouring Offaly, the traffic management plan for this had not yet been decided upon by their county council.
Kildare County Council also noted the adverse impact it would have on a burdgeoning heritage and tourism area, particularly the development of the €50m, Bono-backed Ballykelly Mill distillery, the €5m investment in the Grand Canal Blueway, and the €100,000 in the Ummeras Peatland Project.
The five 169m high turbines planned for this location would have cost in the region of €30m, and would be able to provide 25 megawatts of electricity a year, enough to power 17,000 homes or almost a quarter (23%) of the occupied properties in the whole of Kildare.
Originally, the Statcraft plan was for seven of these turbines, but they have amended this to five, and have sited them such that the nearest property is more than two-thirds of a kilometer (680m) away.
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