Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, Jennifer Whitmore has raised concerns about a five turbine wind farm proposed for Kilranelagh Hill, Baltinglass.
She has submitted an observation to Wicklow County Council in relation to the ABO Wind Ireland Ltd planning application which affects the townlands of Kilranelagh, Colvinstown Upper and Boleycarrigeen.
“The archaeological quality of the area is vulnerable to large scale development and can be easily compromised. Kilranelagh Hill is an integral part of one of Ireland’s most unique and ancient landscapes, the Baltinglass Hillfort Complex. Given the reference to this area in the County Development Plan, the potential for further excavation and other archaeological finds as well as the lack of sufficient reference to the Hillfort Complex as a whole, I believe much greater consideration of this context must be given by the Council," she said.
“There are also broader environmental and ecological concerns associated with this type of development. Kilranelagh is a refuge for flora and fauna and in close proximity to numerous of rivers and streams. According to local community groups and residents, buzzards and peregrines are a daily sight over Kilranelagh and curlews have nested there recently. I would have concerns that if development is not carried out sustainably with the full environmental impact considered, this could have negative impacts on the archaeological value of the area."
She also highlighted the potential for sustainable tourism as well as educational and economic benefits from the archaeological value of Hill Fort area (including Kilranelagh) which has not been fully appreciated to date.
"In absence of this I would urge the Council to proceed with caution in relation to this development until the full potential of the area has been considered and until it has been confirmed that any large- scale development would not compromise the culture heritage of this area,” she concluded.