Opposition to Kerry windfarm steps up in advance of planning deadline

Objectors to a controversial windfarm proposal in north Kerry are stepping up their campaign in advance of a deadline for planning submissions.

Opposition to Kerry windfarm steps up in advance of planning deadline

Hundreds of letters are also being sent to local councillors from people opposed to the 10-turbine windfarm earmarked for the Ballyhorgan and Finuge areas, near Listowel.

Gerard Doyle, chairman of the North Kerry Wind Turbine Awareness Group (NKWTAG), urged people to make submissions before the September 15 deadline.

Objectors are citing health issues and the visual impact of the turbines, which will have a blade tip height of more than 156m, in a rural area.

Stacks Mountain Windfarm Ltd lodged a planning a planning application with Kerry County Council for the windfarm, earlier this year, but the council has since sought additional information from the company and fresh submissions can be made by interested parties.

Mr Doyle said the NKWTAG is also seeking a change in the new county development plan to completely ban windfarms in the area.

A key demand from local people is for a declassification of the region for wind farming, he stated.

In 2012, the council voted on a variation of the county development plan on renewable energy declaring north Kerry to be suitable for consideration for windfarms. The council is now under pressure to amend the plan and it would have to enter a legal process to change the new development plan which comes into effect in 2015.

The NKWTAG claimed there had been no consultation with anybody in north Kerry about the 2012 variation, while there had been public consultations in other parts of the county.

At a public meeting called by the group last week, there were complaints about a proliferation of windfarms in north Kerry, with planning applications in train for further turbines in the Knocknagoshel and Kilmorna areas.

An Bord Pleanála recently rejected a proposed nine-turbine windfarm in the Kilgarvan area, in south Kerry. Grounds for refusal included a possible threat to the reintroduced white-tailed eagle, visual impacts, and the need for roads to service the upland site.

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