A local campaign group has expressed concerns the “beautiful” Roe Valley countryside will be “besieged by windfarms”.
In an e-mail seen by the ‘Journal’ to Limavady Borough Council on Tuesday, Carlo McCloskey of the Roe Valley Anti-Windfarm Association appealed to council for their continued support in the knowledge that firm Gaelectric would receive planning approval for the construction of seven wind turbines up to 120m in height at land located at Smulgedon Hill, south of Legavallon Road, 9Km NE of Dungiven and 8km west of Garvagh. The case was approved by planners at headquarters in Belfast, and brought before councillors on Tuesday night at a planning committee meeting.
In his e-mail, Mr. McCloskey said when the application first came to light a couple of years ago “we greatly appreciated the unanimous support of our local councillors in our efforts to have this application rejected. Unfortunately despite objections from over 300 local residents, safety questions posed by our local airport and your commitment, the Planning Authority has bowed to Government pressure on this matter and granted Gaelectric, a company from Cork, the right to erect 7 huge windmills in our locality”.
The group is concerned how the development will impact on noise, safety, local nature and the landscape.
In all, 330 objections were lodged against the application.
Mr. McCloskey went on to state there were fears a further wind farm was being sought after a speed detector mast was erected on the Killhoyle Hill “with exisiting applications already pending”.
“We are fearful as to where this will all end; possibly with our community completely besieged by windfarms,” wrote Mr. McCloskey.
Mr. McCloskey asked for councillors to give their continued support against the Gaelectric plan, “even though it is likely to have any influence on the decision”.
“However, the continued support of our local council on this issue would at least vindicate our campaign even though it was unsuccessful,” he stated.
When the application came before councillors on Tuesday night, TUV Colr. Boyd Douglas said he was surprised to see it had received approval given the number of applications for individual wind turbines he knew of that had been refused.
“It’s quite interesting,” he said, noting Sinn Fein had opposed the application before.
“A farmer can’t even get one approved yet approval has been given for this on top of a hill. We are all paying for this because we are subsidising these. The Planning Service need to seriously look at what they are at.”
SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle said: “This has been approved, but in this case when it was dealt with at Headquarters we, as Council, have no interaction with the planners dealing with this.”
DUP Colr. George Robinson said his personal opinion was that the wind farm would be “an awful blight on the landscape”.
“That’s just my personal opinion” he added.
A delegation of the Anti Wind Farm Group attended Tuesday’s meeting.