Benbradagh mast decision sparks concern

Concerns have been raised at Limavady Council about planning permission granted for a mast on top of Benbradagh mountain, designed to measure wind speed.

ABO Wind NI has received permission to install the temporary mast for two years. Limavady councillors who aired concerns about the move were told the decision to grant planning permission was made in Belfast.

SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle said he was very much in favour of renewable energy, but revealed he had been lobbied quite hard about the application.

“The chat is about the possibility of a wind farm on top of Benbradagh. It’s almost guaranteed there will be an application for one, at some stage,” he said at last weeke’s Planning Committee meeting.

“People in Dungiven don’t have difficulties with 
renewable energy, but it’s the siting of this and 
the visual impact the structure will have that are the problems.”

Colr. Coyle said that as it is, the windfarm at Altnahullion can be seen while driving through Dungiven .

“Benbradagh is important for tourism,” he said, adding that it’s used by hang gliders. “I’ve been asked to bring such concerns to the Deprtment and I propose that we do not accept the decision for approval.”

Colr. Coyle added he had met with the company, stating: “It’s more than likely there will be a full-blown wind farm. This [mast] is to confirm what they suspect. I’ve met with them and told them this, but there comes a point where you have to make a judgement. Are there too many wind farms? Do they have an impact, say, on the quality of life?”

Sinn Fein Colr. Tony McCaul said his party was not opposed to renewable energy either, but before such decisions are made there should be consultation with local people.

TUV Colr. Boyd Douglas said he thought the decision regarding the mast was reasonable.

“It’s only to test the wind,” he said, and claimed when plans regarding Smulgedon had been raised “there was not a word about it”.

A representative from the Planning Department told councillors the decision was made at headquarters, but suggested councillors ask for a presentation from the company involved at a later date.