‘Compelling public issues’ over turbine

A rural community in west Waterford has claimed there are “compelling public issues” which demand a public oral hearing into a wind turbine being erected.

One family living close to an existing turbine, operated by a company which secured planning for a further turbine, said their “lives are blighted with a constant whooshing noise” while bloodstock and family ponies regularly show signs of stress due to noise and flicker.

The claim was made by Margaret Walsh, whose home is just 500m from a turbine at Beallough, Portlaw, where Waterford Council had granted permission to Tornado Electrics Ltd to construct another turbine.

Planning was subject to 28 conditions. The company has, since 2008, operated two other turbines at Beallough that overlook farmland and a large conservation area.

The turbines also border a 900-year-old estate, home to the ninth Lord Waterford, where Curraghmore House and its 2,500-acre demesne are protected structures under the Waterford County Development Plan and deemed of national importance in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Planning was granted contrary to the recommendation of the council’s own conservation officer, and despite the council having adopted a motion for a stay on planning permission for wind turbines pending new government guidelines.

Waterford Council chief executive Michael Walsh advised councillors, at their July meeting, they have no function in the planning decision process and no authority to discuss it.

Cllr Mary Butler (FF) said public submissions were “being ignored”.

Meanwhile, Ms Walsh, who lives near the turbines, is spokesperson for the group Portlaw Against Turbines, which is lodging an appeal over the turbine.

Dublin-based planning consultants Reid Associates is managing the appeal for the group.

Its manager, Ann Mulcrone, said the development “contravenes the development plans, policies, and objectives of land zoned for agriculture”, as well as possibly posing a risk to private water wells and “prejudicial to public health”.


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