The Delvin Raharney Ballivor Wind Action Group is holding its first public meeting this Friday night, March 4, in Ballivor Hall at 7.30pm.
The group was formed in a bid to prevent 35 wind turbines being built in their locality.
Bracklyn Wind Farm Ltd, a subsidiary of Galetech, has already submitted a Strategic Infrastructure Development application to An Bord Pleanala for nine 185m high turbines n the townlands of Ballagh, Billistown, Ballynacor, and Bracklyn in the north of the county and the townland of Coolronan in Meath.
Bord na Móna are also set to make a SID application for 26 200m high wind turbines in the Ballivor Bog Group, which straddles the Westmeath and Meath border.
Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner, spokesperson Daryl Kennedy said that despite BNM first announcing its intentions more than two years ago, Covid-19 restrictions prevented the group from holding a large public meeting up to now.
“The position our group would take is that this level of energy infrastructure is just simply not appropriate for this low lying area.
“Realistically the government needs to be much more imaginative and expansive in their thinking about what sort of renewable energies are suitable for the country. Some areas are suitable for wind, some for geothermal, some are suitable for solar, some for hydro.
“We are looking for a more creative approach. Certainly this area does not suit 200m high turbines. It’s not an appropriate development for this area,” he said.
If the two projects go-ahead, the largely pastoral landscape of this corner of Westmeath would be radically altered and its inhabitants’ quality of life would be greatly diminished, Daryl and other campaigners fear.
“There is not a single 200m turbine in this country, onshore or offshore. I don’t know if there is a wind farm with 35 turbines either.
“Then you take into account that it is a flat, open landscape. They would utterly dominate. Galetech and BNM have increased the size of their wind masts, which are used to measure wind speed. Because they have gone up 100m they have had to put red lights on top of them.
“The two red lights are so distinctive and there is light pollution at night. They could be four or five kilometres from my house but they are incredibly clear. If you were surrounding by 35 of them, double the height, with red lights on top, it’s going to look like an oil rig. You are not only dealing with the impact on your environment during the day but you are also dealing with them at night,” he said.
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