Speaking at last Wednesday’s Piltown Municipal District meeting, Councillors said it was vital that both sides of a valley through which the Lingaun River runs through, remained wind development free.
They contextualised their opposition given the status that applies from the Kilkenny side of the boundary and the wind development exemption that applies to Kilmacoliver Hill, above the village of Tullahought.
The village’s diligent Tidy Towns Committee, whose work has been well received by the national Tidy Towns body in recent years, has undertaken several local developments, including a hilltop viewing tower, boasting views of Ahenny and its high crosses, the Slate Quarries, the Knockroe Megalithic Tomb, the nearby burial ground as well as Slievenamon and the Comeraghs.
And locals are anxious to see their “years of hard work,” in the view of Cllr Tomás Breathnach (Lab), safeguarded by the refusal of DunoAir’s wind park proposal across the border in Tipperary.
He added: “This issue has, in one shape or form, been on the mind of locals in both South Tipperary and South Kilkenny since 2007, and there has been a huge amount of uncertainty about various applications, between applications and invalidations and so on…
“For me, there are three reasons that this application should be refused: firstly, the archaeology of the area, secondly, the scenery there – we’re talking about a stunning, unblemished landscape and thirdly, the work which the local community have put into enhancing this area and the plans they have with a view to future work in the Lingaun Valley.”
Cllr Breathnach stated: “To me, and I feel this is something which ought to be applied in other counties in due course, that areas of commonality ought to be established when it comes to future wind developments – by that I mean that lands open for such consideration ought to be adjacent to each other, straddling such boundaries, so to speak.
“Likewise, when it comes to areas that have been designated as exempt from wind development, then such a status should also apply in adjacent areas, such as the area we’re currently discussing, an area, to me, which is thoroughly unsuitable for such a development. Surely this would represent a logical and coherent step to take with respect to our planning processes, and would make things not only better for local residents, but for prospective developers.”
Said Cllr Pat Dunphy (FG): “It’s a bit laughable really, when on the one hand, on our side of the border we have an area which is considered unsuitable for wind development, and rightly so in my opinion, yet just across the border, that same status doesn’t apply for the entire hillside, when it is quite clear that the entire area isn’t suitable for wind development as in a geographical sense we’re talking about exactly the same area. Wind turbines were ruled out on our side of the boundary due to heritage considerations: surely this should also apply on the other side of the boundary?”
Cllr Eamon Aylward (FF) who lives within walking distance of the Ballymartin Wind Farm in Mullinavat, said he “has no problem whatsoever with wind turbines,” but added: “these hills are clearly unsuitable for such a development and we should do all we can to try and stop this.
Piltown Municipal District Chair Ger Frisby (FF) said that the DunoAir proposal “flies in the face of all of the work that has been done in the area in the past few years”.
Tipperary County Council is accepting submissions on DunoAir’s planning application up to Monday, July 18th.