A COMMUNITY consultation due to take place in relation to a proposed wind farm in Mid County Waterford was cancelled last week amid mounting opposition to the plan.
BSB Community Energy Ltd. cancelled its planned community consultation which was due to take place at the Barron Hall, Stradbally on Wednesday last.
On Monday of last week, around 600 people attended a public meeting at the Rainbow Hall, Kilmacthomas where the plan to construct an 11 turbine wind farm in the Stradbally/Bonmahon/Ballylaneen area of the Copper Coast was analysed in detail.
BSB, who describe the project as “ground breaking”, say they are aiming to create Ireland’s second 100 per cent community owned wind farm.
Those in attendance at last week’s meeting, which was organised by Mahon Valley Against Turbines, heard emotional accounts from people already living near wind turbines.
Commenting on the meeting, Chairwoman of Mahon Valley Against Turbines Ann Troy said: “It was a mighty show of support on a cold November evening. We sincerely thank all those who travelled representing a large section of our community.”
She continued: “The feedback from those attending was very positive, and the general opinion relayed back to us as a committee was that the presentation of facts, and the explanation of the process in detail, was both professional and factual.”
Health concerns and fears surrounding the impact the plan would have on Waterford’s scenic countryside were among the main topics discussed.
Members from BSB Community Energy Ltd. also attended the meeting as did a number of political representatives.
During the meeting, a number of concerned local residents spoke from the floor and outlined their strong opposition to the proposal.
Organisers then asked for a show of hands in order to determine how many of those in attendance were in favour of the project and how many were opposed to it.
No hands were raised in favour of the wind farm, whereas an overwhelming show of hands indicated opposition to the project.
“This could NEVER be a community project with such a show of resistance and people power,” said Ann Troy.
Following the meeting, there was speculation that some of the developers and investors had agreed to withdraw from the project having felt and witnessed the concerns and worries of the community.
However, this has not been confirmed by BSB Community Energy.
In a brief statement, a spokesperson for BSB said: “A public consultation was arranged to take place in the Barron Hall, Stradbally on Wednesday 16th November from 3:00pm to 8:00pm. The committee of BSB Community Energy would wish to advise that the consultation has been cancelled. The 50(+) investors in BSB Community Energy Ltd will meet shortly and reflect on the message that was given at the public meeting.”
Mahon Valley Against Turbines said they would now contact BSB in an “official capacity”.
“We as a committee will be contacting BSB in an official capacity, representing the concerns, fears, worries and will of the community, to issue a statement of intent so that the public are aware of further plans. We will continue to stay in touch with our community and work on the high level of support publicly declared on this contentious issue,” said Ann Troy.
“We don’t see why the people of the community should endure continuing lack of information and regard from this wind farm company. Elderly residents are anxious and afraid, parents who are working hard to pay mortgages on their homes are now worried that they might expose their children and families to health risks and unnecessary stress.”