Residents campaigning against proposed Kildare wind farm say 'fight is not over'

Large attendance at public meeting

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Residents campaigning against proposed Kildare wind farm say 'fight is not over'

organising committee (standing) Olive Hughes, Mike Pope, Niamh Mallon; (seated) Annmarie Langan, Mary Sheegar, and Seamus Langan

Residents in North West Kildare who are campaigning against a proposed 12 turbine wind farm have pledged "the fight is not over".

Drehid Against Wind Turbines held a public meeting in the Hamlet Court Hotel, Johnstownbridge last Tuesday night January 8. 

Committee chairperson, Seamus Langan, opened the meeting by welcoming the large attendance including some local TDs and councillors including Padraig McEvoy, Brendan Weld, Bernard Durkan, Ita Cussen, Bernard Caldwell, Teresa Murray, Anthony Lawlor and Brendan Young.

The group were supported by members of Kildare Environmental Awareness Group (KEAG), Wind Aware, Donadea Against Wind Turbines and Wild Kildare.

"The meeting was attended by the renowned environmentalist Peter Sweetman whose work on environmental issues are well documented. Mr Sweetman spoke eloquently on the negative impact of such developments on communities and their environment," said a spokesperson for Drehid Against Turbines. 

The large attendance at the meeting PICTURE: TONY KEANE

"Images of the proposed development of 12 industrial wind turbines in the town lands of, Ballynamullagh, Coolree, Drehid, Dunfierth, Killyon, Kilmurray and Mulgeeth, the application of which was lodged with Kildare County Council on December 18 2018 by North Kildare Wind Farm, was shown on screen by Niamh Mallon and Mike Pope detailing the full impact of such a development on our communities."

Jim O’Byrne of Wild Kildare spoke about the ecological effects of industrial wind turbines on the bird population. 

He went on to say that species such as skylark and snipe have depleted greatly from farmlands according to a recent study by UCC. He said “wind turbines have a detrimental effect on all wild life”.

Sheila O’Brien said “Kildare is being thrown to the wolves”.  

She agreed with Peter Sweetman about the frustration over the lack of wind engergy guidelines. She went on to say “we do not want a wind farm in this vicinity, they are not clean, not green”.

Stephen Carroll from Rhode gave an impassioned speech about the detrimental effects industrial wind turbines have on people’s health, stating that the only way to block out low frequency noise from an industrial wind turbine 500 metres away was to build a 12 metre thick wall. 

Mr Carroll said; ”if you live within 1km of an industrial wind turbine your property will suffer a loss of 25% - if you live inside a 1km radius, your property will suffer a loss of 50% to 100%."

He then said your property is classed effectively unsalable.

Cllr Tim Durkan, and TD Bernard Durkan at the Drehid Against Wind Turbines public meeting

Dep Bernard Durkan was asked by a member of the audience to raise the issue of guideline legislation in the Dail, and he agreed to do so.

Mr Langan stated; “No industrial wind farms should be granted planning permission until new guidelines come out".

Seamus closed the meeting stating, “the fight is not over - no means no.”

Cllrs, Ide Cussen, Padraig McEvoy, Bernard Caldwell, Brendan Weld, and Senator Anthony Lawlor at the public meeting

Drehid Against Wind Turbines are holding submission/objection clinics in the Hamlet Court Hotel, Johnstownbridge on Saturday January 19 from 10am to 8pm, and in the Castle Inn Carbury on Tuesday January 22 from 7pm to 10pm.

"We would urge everyone to attend these clinics and make a submission/objection to Kildare County Council to prevent this proposed development going ahead," said the group.

The company behind the plans previously said the Drehid proposal is being brought forward by Statkraft which acquired Element Power Ireland last October. 

It said Statkraft has a long history in "the development of renewable energy projects and is committed to the ethical and responsible development of pure energy in order to assist in our transition to becoming a low carbon economy".

"From the outset, we have sought to encourage real community involvement in a project that will deliver real climate action. Our focus has been to develop a proposal that will make a positive difference for the environment, future generations and for the people who live in the locality today," it said.

"We have engaged directly with over 260 households in the local and wider Drehid area to seek feedback on how this proposal could work best. This feedback has led to the reduction in the number of turbines being proposed from 14 turbines to 12, the distances between houses and turbines has been increased and we have committed to zero shadow flicker at any houses in the local area."

It said whilst these changes have "reduced the potential output of green energy from the wind farm, we believe that this proposal sets an example of how positive engagement between renewable energy proposers and local communities during the design stages, can lead to exemplary projects that work well in local communities and bring benefits at both a local and national level.”