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West Clare ‘already saturated’ with wind turbines, says opposing group  

Credit:  By Dan Danaher | The Clare Champion | July 6, 2021 | clarechampion.ie ~~

The proposed development of a new West Clare wind farm is earmarked for an area already “saturated” with wind turbines, a local opposition group has claimed.
MCRE Windfarm Ltd has lodged a planning application for the construction of ten wind turbines in phase two of the Cahermurphy wind farm.
Subject to planning approval, this will involve the development of a wind farm and underground grid connection cable to the national grid in the townlands of Cahermurphy, Knocknahila More South, Carrownagry South, Caheraghacullin, Drummin, Doolough, Glenmore and Booltiagh.
The Cahermurphy 2 Opposition Group feel that this site is entirely unsuitable for an industrial development of this kind.
At present, there are 107 operational industrial wind turbines within a 12k radius of Cahermurphy, with planning permission granted for another 30.
According to a statement issued by the group, there were 104 submissions objecting to the Request for Further Information planning application for the Cahermurphy 2 wind farm.
The group stated there were 115 total submissions, with only 11 in favour of the development, including two from local GAA clubs and claimed 90% of the submissions were against the proposed industrial wind farm.
Notably, there were numerous submissions from Clare and national politicians strongly objecting to this proposed development, including from TD Violet Ann Wynne, Green Party Senator Roisín Garvey and Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley.
Clare County Councillors Susan Crawford, Cillian Murphy, Ian Lynch, Donna McGettigan, Gerry Flynn, P J Kelly, and Shane Talty are also opposed to this development.
All of these representatives came out to visit the site and meet local residents who would be most impacted by this development.
In her submission, Senator Garvey, stated no more wind farm applications should be processed until the new guidelines are published.
“I can’t understand how a development can go ahead in an area classified as Hen Harrier friendly under Glás, with local farmers receiving Hen Harrier Protection payments under Glás.
“The proposed development is directly adjacent to a Special Area of Conservation.
“There are 100 houses in the vicinity of this development and many of them are only 700 metres distance away from the turbines,” she stated.
The Miltown Malbay Wind Farm Opposition Group has requested the council to postpone making any decision on this wind farm until the new wind farm guidelines are published.
The Cahermurphy 2 Opposition Group, composed of more than 100 residents, is confident that Clare County Council will turn down the application for ten 170 metre-high industrial wind turbines in the community.
These enormous industrial turbines would be 50 metres higher than the existing turbines on Mount Callan and the three existing turbines in the first Cahermurphy wind farm.
Group members are concerned that this industrial development in close proximity to their homes will affect their health, especially that of children, older community members and those with existing health issues.
“This application, along with other wind farm applications in West Clare, have been rushed into the council with little to no public consultation, during a pandemic. Many locals still have none or very little knowledge of this proposed industrial development.
“Group members believe that the development of wind farms in West Clare is progressing at an alarming rate, without due regard for habitats and local homeowners.
“The destruction of large swathes of bogland and replacement with thousands of tonnes of concrete will contribute to flooding, potential landslides, contamination of local waterways and destruction of rich local biodiversity. There would be a negative impact on tourism in the area.
“The present Irish Wind Farm Guidelines are not fit for purpose and have been put off for many years. They have not been updated since 2006, when turbines sizes were far smaller.
“While all group members are full supporters of renewable energy and protecting the environment for their children and children’s children, they strongly believe in ‘Right Turbine, in the Right Place’ and that’s not what this development is.”

Area will gain significantly from windfarm – developer

THE provision of a community benefit fund of €5.6 million will result in very significant gains to the wider areas, schools and local organisations.
That’s the view of one of the supporters of a proposed West Clare windfarm, which has attracted a huge level of submissions to the local planning authority.
MCRE Windfarm Ltd has lodged a planning application for the construction of ten wind turbines in phase two of the Cahermurphy wind farm.
The submission supporting this development outlined the residents closest to the wind farm are to see annual payments of up to €3,000 per house, which needs to be considered by the local authority if the council are taking property values and residential amenity into consideration as significant impacts.
Padraig Howard of MCRE Windfarm Ltd stressed the current project, which is plan-led and not developer-led, was lodged in view of the designation of this site as “eminently suitable” by Clare County Council’s Wind Energy Strategy.
The strategy was drawn up by the council after extensive deliberation, environmental assessment and public consultation.
As part of this strategy, Mr Howard recalled the council removed areas of outstanding beauty like the Burren and Natura 2000 sites.
This site is zoned as a strategic site and is classified as regional and national importance for a large windfarm.
Mr Howard said the developers exceeded the current guidelines to have turbines 500 metres away from dwellings and instead ensured all turbines, including those on land owned by 14 farmers, have a 700 metre setback distance.
Within a twelve kilometres radius of Cahermurphy there are 5,000 houses.
Mr Howard pointed out some of the 104 objectors lived in the same house while about 30 objectors live within 1.5 kilometres of the site.
“There is a huge silent majority who haven’t objected to this development. I don’t think the number of submissions are a reflection of the opposition to the project.
“We have engaged in public consultation. We set up a website about 18 months ago. We printed 500 flyers and a 14-page booklet. We called to more than 100 houses and not everyone wanted to talk to us. You can only have consultation when two parties want to consult.
“You can only consult with people when you know what you are doing and then you can seek their views.
“I respect that some of objectors don’t want a windfarm. Are the council going to tear up its own policy and say we are not going to achieve the minimum target for West Clare of 350 megawatts for the Slieve Callan uplands, of which 150 megawatts has been delivered?”
Paul Donnellan, Mullagh, stated there are “many significant planning and environmental benefits.
“Shadow flicker will be eliminated by controls in the turbine technology, allowing for near zero shadow flicker. The noise levels are not excessive in a rural landscape.
“There are no peat concerns on this site. The landscape has an operating wind farm that An Bord Pleanála granted and the current application is located on land that is at a lower elevation than the first Cahermurphy wind farm. The overall number will be 14, which is not excessive as a cumulative.
“There is significant separation to the other wind farms in West Clare. There is no evidence to support claims of long-term devaluation of homes from wind farms.
“In fact, West Clare has seen houses built and renovated in and around wind farms.”

Source:  By Dan Danaher | The Clare Champion | July 6, 2021 | clarechampion.ie

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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