Eoghan Dalton reports
13 objections to a solar farm proposed for north Co Waterford were hand-delivered to An Bord Pleanála yesterday (Monday). The development, which will be linked across two sites across around 80 acres, was granted planning permission by Waterford City and County Council (WCCC) recently. Two local residents from the Mothel and Curraghduff area volunteered to travel to Dublin and hand in the objections to the board. It’s understood more appeals were sent to the board by other concerned locals.
“Hopefully the views of the residents in the community will be considered when this development decision is reviewed and this unwanted development in the community can be stopped,” said Vincent Kelly, who has been among those spearheading the campaign opposing the development. Residents in the area expressed their views on the development of two solar farmsand substation at a public meeting in Clonea Power last week.
Campaigner Kieran Hartley, former European elections candidate and who has a masters in environmental energy, told the meeting about many of his concerns with solar developments generally, including how profits generated don’t go back to the community, health risks and more local issues, such as the danger of the panels generating a glare that can interfere with the vision of people driving by.
Plans by BNRGN Mothel Ltd describe the development consisting of a total of 195,000 square metres, or 48 acres, at two sites in the townlands of Curraghduff and Mothel.The larger development is to be comprised of photovoltaic panels on steel frames on an area of approximately 145,000 square meters (35 acres), up to 24 battery storage containers and up to four inverter/transformer stations. It will be situated in Curraghduff. The Mothel development would be comprised of photovoltaic panels on ground mounted steel frames on an area of approximately 50,000 square meters (over 12 acres). The solar farm would have a 30 year operational life.
Vincent Kelly said afterwards: “If these are allowed to go ahead it is clear it will open the floodgates for others in planning for the area and a much wider community will be affected.
“The community now has a opportunity to stop this development as outlined last evening and we should take it, as all indications are if not we will regret it for the next 40 years.”
Vincent’s brother, the legendary cyclist Sean Kelly, has also leant his voice to the campaign in recent months. In excess of 50 objections had been lodged with WCCC by residents directly affected by thedevelopment outlining their concerns for their area where they felt the scenic rural area would be transformed into a “sea of fences, glass panels , lights and security cameras” turning their area into an “industrial no go area” for tourists combined with the unknown affects to their health.
Disappointment was expressed that WCC had not taken any of the objections into account and the local rural area and its residents lives were potentially being destroyed by large developers who were motivated by “pure profit”.The local action group has employed industry experts to advise on their predicament due to the threat of the current and proposed developments, and are ready to ramp up the campaign if the appeal to An Bord Pleanála is unsuccessful.
If people did not get a chance to submit an appeal in to the board or have other thoughts on the development, they have four weeks to submit an observation to An Bord Pleanála.