Over 130 submissions lodged against latest wind farm plans

Roscommon County Council has received over 130 submissions from the public in relation to the latest proposed windfarm earmarked for the Taughmaconnell/Dysart areas, it emerged this week. The development, the second phase of the so-called Seven Hills Wind Farm from Cavan-based Galetech Energy Ltd would see 19 wind turbines installed in the townlands of Clooncaltry, Feacle, Milltown, Skeavally, Tawnagh, Tobermacloughlin and Boleyduff, close to Taughmaconnell, along with others in Cam in Brideswell and Cuilleenolagh, near Dysart. Backers of the €76 million project claim up to 600 jobs could be created in the local area during the construction phase if it gets the green light. This second phase comes after the company applied last year for permission to construct the first phase, an €80 million 16 wind turbine project close to the Dysart village last year, plans which provoked major opposition in the area and generated over 400 submissions during the planning process. Further information was lodged by the developers earlier this month in recent to that particular project, and an official verdict is expected from planners in Roscommon by October 4 next. The latest wind turbine plans would be "a blot on what is a beautiful landscape" a submission from Alex and Fiona Clarkson, Skyvalley, Taughmaconnell argued this week in relation to the latest proposals, adding that the location of a turbine less than a kilometre from their home would mean they would never be able to sell it. The written submission also expressed concern that it would decimate wildlife, "interrupt the migratory swans" which come to the area every year, present a noise hazard and "bring strangers to the area, some of which could be undesirable." Concern that the development would take away their hobby of flying radio controlled model planes because of the EM fields they produce was also articulated by the couple. Another submission from Christine and Graham Mogg in Skyvalley dubbed the "size and number of turbines overwhelming in terms of visual impact alone". They also complained about the lack of public consultation, property devaluation and the proximity of the turbines to their home, while Dermot Butler in Cam believes that the local community hasn't been considered at all. He said the noise and flicker from the turbines will be an issue for people living in the area and believes the turbines should be over 1,500 metres from houses. A submission from Aoife Butler with an address in New York argued that natural springs and the water table in the surrounding area will become polluted by concrete works associated with construction of the development, thus lands which flood in the water will become polluted with polluted flood waters. She also believes farming activities will be stopped on the land changing the landscape and a way of life in the area, while she also has misgivings about the traffic generated during construction and the health implications of wind energy in her submission to the council. "The peace of the countryside would be interfered with the continous noise and by the flicker brought on by them in the sunlight," Mary F Fallon, Gardenfort, Dysart stated in her submission, adding that there have been problems with TV receptions in areas where windfarms have been situated. Elsewhere, among his objections, Kevin Coleman in Dysart pointed out that in his view the project will turn the " skyline into little more than an industrial landscape" and the "inevitable miles of pylons needed to carry electricity away from them" will have a negative impact on every parish they go through. Gerry and Terersa Connolly, Breole expressed concern at the fact the development according to the company's EIS will be seen from Clonmacnois could impact on visitor numbers to the monastic site. "The loss or devaluation of this national treasure by a developer would cause serious reduction in visitors to the site with a consequent loss of revenue to the region," the submission outlined, while in a wide ranging document Skyvalley Concerned Residents Group believe the project will have a detrimental effect on the area, complaining about a lack of information in relation to effects on built landscape and concerns about the decommissioning of the turbines were just a few of the myriad of issues raised in opposition to the plans. The second phase of the development will produce enough electricity to power 19,000 homes and involves 50 separate landowners in the area. It's likely be 2013 or 2014 before work begins on the project if it progresses unscathed through the planning process. A decision is due from Roscommon County Council on phase two of the wind farm plans by September 7 next.