Community in direct protest over wind farm

A Co Waterford community, fighting against a proposed wind farm, has sent protest letters and a video message to a German energy company behind the project.

Almost 100 letters were posted to individual directors of Innogy SE which through its subsidiary, Innogy Renewables Ireland Ltd, plans to construct 25 wind turbines, 150m tall, on 3,500 acres between Dungarvan and Youghal.

The proposed site at Lyrenecarriga transcends the Cork-Waterford border and is Coillte-owned and privately owned.

Innogy SE is Germany’s leading energy company, worth an estimated €45bn and with a payroll of 40,000 spread over 16 European countries alone.

Objectors claim the project will negatively affect nearly 300 houses and say its construction also threatens to infiltrate streams feeding into Youghal’s water supply.

In June last, Waterford County councillors voted 28-1 to outlaw wind farm development in the area through a variation of the county development plan, but its CEO Michael Walsh denied the request.

Meanwhile, the promoters are seeking ‘strategic infrastructure’ designation from Bord Pleanála which would enable it to bypass county council planners.

Chairman of the Blackwater Wind Aware community group Paddy Massey said the letter protest arose from the utter lack of communication and the attitude of Innogy Renewables. He said the letters illustrate “the level of anguish and uncertainty among the community” alongside its “absolute commitment to stand firm against the development”.

Mr Massey said residents had been asked to “think carefully and write from the heart”.

Many expressed health concerns, citing evidence from neighbouring parishes like Aglish and Ballyduff where flicker and noise from turbines were blamed for sleep deprivation, depression, tinnitus and other health problems.

Others wrote of landowners being asked to sign contracts without being fully informed of the scale of the development.

One couple, who wrote, feared property devaluation would deny them a mortgage for their planned house.

A local filmmaker compiled a short film in which many locals also expressed views. Meanwhile, the group said it is awaiting a response from the German-based parent company.

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