By Elizabeth Lee
THE planning application for a wind farm on Kilranelagh Hill near Baltinglass has been lodged to Wicklow County Council.
Green energy company ABO Wind lodged the application to erect five wind turbines with a blade top height of 165 metres, transformers, an electrical substation and all other works associated with such a wind farm, including linking the proposed substation with an existing one. The application was lodged by the company on 27 January and has been validated by Wicklow County Council.
A local group called the West Wicklow Wind Action Group, (WWAG) has been set up to protest against the development, asserting that the site of the proposed wind farm on Kilranelagh Hill is of historic and archaeological importance. The site is located in the Baltinglass Hillfort Complex, which has ancient burial grounds as well as historical locations associated with Irish rebel Michael Dwyer. Kilranelagh Hill itself features one of the oldest but still-functioning graveyards in Ireland, while it also features stones that capture the Earth’s alignment with the sun on the summer and winter solstices.
‘Electricity must be generated in cleaner ways, but not at the expense of thousands of years of heritage in an area that rivals the Boyne Valley in terms of cultural significance,’ declared a statement from the campaigning group. ‘These 5x 165m high turbines have the potential to destroy the pristine landscape of the Baltinglass Hillfort Complex, the largest cluster of ancient hillforts in Europe, as well as obliterating any hope of potential high-quality, low-density tourism in west Wicklow. It’s now time for us to stand up together against this company, ABO Wind, and protect the landscape and heritage that belongs to the people of Ireland and makes us unique in the world.’
Another group, Save Wicklow’s Ancient East, set up a GoFundMe page to generate funds to help the protesters with their campaign, which has raised over €7,600 to date.
The closing date for submissions and objections is Tuesday 2 March.