Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has submitted an observation to An Bord Pleanála on ABO’s appeal of Wicklow County Council’s decision not to grant them permission to build a wind farm in west Wicklow.
Deputy Whitmore had welcomed the planning decision of Wicklow County Council decision not to grant planning which was made in March, citing the potential negative impact development could have on the Baltinglass Hill Fort Complex and on surrounding archaeological heritage.
Speaking about her observation to An Bord Pleanála, Deputy Whitmore said: ‘While wind energy production is very important to meet our climate action obligations it must be done sustainably and in the right areas. I believe Wicklow County Council made the right decision as a large- scale project like this could negatively impact on the archaeological and natural heritage of the Kilranelagh Hill and the Baltinglass Hillfort Complex.
‘Anyone in west Wicklow will tell you that this area is an integral part of Ireland’s most unique and ancient landscapes but has not been given the attention it deserves.
‘I have been campaigning alongside ‘Save West Wicklow’ who regularly highlight the fact that very little protection or promotion of this archaeologically rich area in West Wicklow has been provided for despite its reference in the County Development Plan. There is also huge potential for further excavation and other archaeological finds as well which was not adequately referenced in the planning application.’
‘Now that the company is appealing the Council’s decision with An Bord Pleanála, I felt it was necessary to highlight these issues once again and to state plainly the need to prioritise this truly special place. I hope that An Bord Pleanála take my observation and those of other local campaigners on board to reflect the concerns on the ground.’
The ABO Wind Limited application with the local authority sought a ten-year grant of permission to construct five 165m wind turbines at Kilranelagh Hill. The proposal includes an electrical substation, underground cabling to connect the proposed substation to the existing substation at Stratford-on-Slaney, a 1 km heritage trail and other associated site works.
The project involved land located in the townlands of Kilranelagh, Colvinstown Upper, Ballinaroan Upper, Bolleycarrigeen, Cloghnagaune, Downings, Spinans West, Kill, Eadenstown South, Eadestown Middle, Ballintruer More, Castleruddery Lower and Castleruddery Upper,
Deputy Whitmore added; ‘In the meantime, I continue to request at national level for adequate funding and resources to ensure that the future of this area is sustainably managed for the benefit for the surrounding environment and residents in the area.
‘As our economy reopens and restrictions ease no doubt this area will be enjoyed my many more people highlighting the recreational value this area holds for residents in Wicklow.’