A wind monitoring mast at Umma More, Moyvoughley, pictured last year. It was erected in anticipation of a potential windfarm development in the area.

Information sessions on Moyvoughley wind farm plan happening this week

Two public information sessions are taking place this week about the possible development of a nine-turbine windfarm in the Moyvoughley area of South Westmeath.

The events will be held in Rosemount GAA Hall tomorrow (Wednesday), between 3pm and 8pm, and in the Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore, on Thursday from 4pm to 8.30pm.

Cork-based company Enerco Energy is behind the proposed project, which centres on an area between Moyvoughley and Drumraney, about 3km from the village of Ballymore.

The development would also include a grid connection from the wind farm to Thornsberry 110kV substation near Tullamore.

James Crowley of Enerco, who is a Community Liaison Officer for the wind farm project, told the Westmeath Independent a planning application for it was likely to be lodged later this year.

He said the public information events this week were open to anyone who wished to "come and meet with the project team and ask any questions or queries they might have."

He added that project representatives had also called to "all houses within two kilometres of the proposed turbines over the past two or three months," and had "liaised with houses along the proposed grid connection route to Tullamore".

Mr Crowley said that, due to the increase in Covid cases nationally in recent weeks, people attending the events were being encouraged to wear a mask, and the numbers in attendance at any given time would be managed.

In April, a bid for a pre-application consultation on the project was lodged with An Bord Pleanála by Umma More Ltd. The development was described in the pre-application bid as a wind farm "of approximately nine wind turbines," along with "all associated works."

Umma More Ltd also sought a pre-application consultation on "a 110kV substation and grid connection cabling to the existing Thornsberry 110kV substation in County Offaly."

The applications to An Bord Pleanála will determine whether or not the proposal can be considered a strategic infrastructure development.

If the board concludes that the project is a strategic development, the subsequent planning application would be made directly to the board, thus bypassing the local authority planning process.

The outcome of the pre-application process, to determine whether or not this project is a strategic infrastructure development, is due to be decided by An Bord Pleanála by August 17.

Speaking this week, Mr Crowley said that the planning application would be made in the coming months to either An Bord Pleanála or to Westmeath and Offaly County Councils depending on the pre-application decision.

Mr Crowley said that all of the information on display at the information events would also be made available on the wind farm website at www.ummamoreinfo.com.