By Suzanne Pender
LACK of public consultation and the scale of a proposed wind farm on the slopes of Mount Leinster have led to further public outcry this week.
Liam O’Brien, Green Party local area representative for Muinebheag Municipal District this week expressed his concerned in relation to the proposed Croaghaun Wind Farm.
Coillte CGA has announced its intention to apply for planning permission to develop a wind farm at Croaghaun Hill, south of the villages of Myshall and Kildavin, on the foothills of the Blackstairs Mountains. The wind farm will consist of up to seven wind turbines with a maximum overall blade tip height of up to 178 metres.
Coillte is expected to lodge a planning application to Carlow County Council in the coming weeks, giving the public five weeks to make a submission.
The proposed application has taken many in the community by complete surprise and prompted the immediate forming of the Save Mount Leinster campaign.
“The Green Party is a strong advocate of using renewable energies to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. However, I have a number of concerns in relation to the Croughaun Wind Farm proposal,” said Mr O’Brien.
“Firstly, Coillte has not consulted adequately with the local community. Covid restrictions have, of course, hindered this, but it is vital that this consultation takes place before a planning application is submitted.
The scale of the proposed wind turbines is causing real concern among the local community and the many people who use the area for recreation,” he said.
“Seven turbines are proposed with a height of 178 metres. This could have a hugely damaging visual impact on an area of scenic beauty,” said Mr O’Brien.
Mr O’Brien pointed out that turbines of this scale are normally placed offshore, which is central to the government’s climate change policy. There are also concerns around the impact of the development and associated infrastructure on the area’s habitat, biodiversity, built heritage and long-term impact on tourism development.
“The community should know exactly how they would stand to benefit from the proposal and how it could impact on them before the application is made. This has not happened to date.
Coillte must engage with the community in a meaningful way throughout the process, and in particular in advance of submitting a planning application,” said Mr O’Brien.