Re: Wind Monitoring Mast et allia., at Knocknafallia, Mount Mellory, Knockmealdowns.
Dear Senior Planner;
Friends of the Irish Environment have taken an active interest in the development of community based developments in renewable energy. We support green energy.
We have, however, recently appealed the decision of Galway County Council to permit three wind turbines on the Aran Islands on much the same grounds that we believe the local community is justified in opposing the proposals for Knockmeadown:
¬® The development is not community based in the sense that the community does not financially control the project through suitable structures. It structures investments from outside interests through tax incentives to capitalize on an environment that belongs to the community and is not therefore in the interest of the common good, to which the planning authority must confine its decisions.
¬® The development of wind turbines on a case-by-case basis makes no sense in advance of a national spacial plan. These plans will identify areas which are suitable for alternative energy and areas which must be protected and is promised in the new planning legislation - and so the development is premature.
¬® The government's National Development Plan projects a 32% increase in CO2 emissions instead of the Koyoto target of 13%. Isolated rural areas should not have to bear the impact of failed national targets to control emissions.
¬® There are extensive areas where the impact on the landscape of wind turbines would be acceptable and even other degraded landscapes where they would have a positive impact. Any turbines at this location would be visible over a wide area where the landscape is open and unspoiled, making the development incongruous and intrusive in a place of natural beauty so great that legend has it men wished to be buried upright.
¬® The proposal is contrary to the provisions of the County Development Plan in terms of general protection of visual amenities and we understand in the new Draft Plan specifically favoring single turbines and small groups as opposed to this proposal, which would set a precedent for untrammeled exploitation.
¬® There is no indication in the proposal of the location of the pylons and power lines that will require planning permission, implying the application is in fact "project splitting". Project splitting of this nature if permitted will have the effect of concealing from the public the full impact on the environment of the consequences of a development consent for this proposal.
¬® This proposal if built would be so incongruous that it would indeed give wind energy a bad name. For the sake of alternative energy's future development in Ireland, our organization urges the developers to seek a more appropriate location for their otherwise admirable proposal and the for the local authority to refuse any permission for any part of the proposed wind turbines at the Vee and the Knockmealdowns.