The developers of a proposed new windfarm comprising 20 turbines have said they expect to submit a planning application by the end of the next month. The windfarm, whose turbines could be as high as 185 metres at their highest point, is to be located on the slopes of Mushera near Ballinagree. The developers, Coillte and Orsted, the new Irish company set up by Brookfield, the Canadian firm who had been linked to the project, have set up a virtual consultation room at www.ballinagreewindfarm.com to provide information to locals and to answer their questions. Project managers Kieran O’Malley of Coillte and Fiona Maxwell of Orsted introduce the wide ranging array of information, including maps, photo-montages, information about archaeology and culture, ecology, noise, landscape and visual impacts and community benefits. There’s also a facility to contact the team with questions and suggestions while the benefits to the community are also spelled out and the next steps are outlined. In terms of archaeological impact the proposed project has been laid out to avoid the locations and environs of all archaeological sites in the area. “While there are no protected structures within the site, the locations of a number of derelict 19th century farm buildings, which are not designated features, but maybe of local cultural interest, have also been avoided.” Controversies around the location of windfarms have focused on issues such as noise, flicker and the visual impact of such high structures on the landscape. Concerns raised about these issues are addressed in the displays on the recently launched consultation room at www.ballinagreewindfarm.com. Noise surveys have been carried and a noise impact assessment is underway. In considering the visual impact, the developers have taken into account that there are several other windfarms in the area which may lead to a cumulative impact. The hen harrier has been detected in the area but no brooding or roosting hen harrier have been recorded since 2017. Other species of animal are also being surveyed.
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