Residents express wind turbine fears

Wind turbines: Phil Noble/PA Wire
Wind turbines: Phil Noble/PA Wire

Residents in a rural area of Derry are to write to the Environment and Agriculture Ministers amid concerns over proposals to erect more wind turbines and solar panels near their homes.

A large crowd turned out at a public meeting last week to discuss several proposed wind and solar developments for the greater Loughermore area.

Speaking after the meeting, some of the residents said there were already more than enough such features near their homes, with 50 erected between Eglinton and Claudy.

In a statement following the meeting, the residents said there were concerns for various sites in the area, including Loughermore Forest.

The stated: “It was discussed at the meeting that our countryside was being ruined and where will it stop? There are barely any green areas left outside of Derry City and in every direction visible, the landscape is cluttered with wind turbines.”

They claimed that Loughermore Forest could be completely destroyed if handed over for renewable energy purposes.

“The forest is one of the largest green areas left, untouched and used by walkers, cyclists, campers and bird watchers.

“At Monday night’s meeting we decided we must urge our local councillors to help us save our beautiful area. To the local residents and visitors, this is an area of outstanding natural beauty with the Sperrin mountains in the background (top 100 areas of outstanding natural beauties in the world).

“A quota system of some sort must be put in place to limit the amount of turbines/renewable energy sources in one area.

“It is clear that this area is over developed already. We would ask Mark Durkan, our Environment Minister to save the green areas around our city before its too late, and, not to continue to over develop the North West with wind energy when it is quite clear from research that counties Antrim and Down have the best coastal winds for wind power and the best sunlight for solar energy.”

Hydro power was also discussed on Monday night by a number of members of the community as one resident explained: “It has been proven to be very efficient in areas of Scotland and Northern England. Water is in abundance here in the North West and we have lots of rivers that would be suited to hydro power. With the correct planning and screening in place, this form of renewable energy would be much more suited to the countryside.”