THERE is concern in Belleek that the company behind a major windfarm which will be visible from the village has not consulted with local people on the northern side of the border who will be most affected by the giant turbines.
The argument is that a public meeting held last week was in a neighbouring rural area of Donegal and that Belleek people were not aware of it. And there are fears that giant wind turbines will blight the landscape near a village which relies heavily on tourism
Local councillor John Coyle has called on the company behind the project less than 2km from the Commons area near the village, to hold a public consultation for Belleek people.
Mr Coyle made the call as he attended a public consultation in Cashelard, just across the border, where plans were unveiled to erect an additional turbine in the Derrykillew area, a short distance from Belleek in Co Donegal.
The windfarm company has already been given planning permission for five turbines at a height of 135m, and is now also seeking planning permission to raise the height of the turbines to 150m.
The company is also seeking planning permission for an additional seven turbines in a wooded area at Behy, Cashelard about three miles from Belleek.
An Bord Pleanala gave planning permission for the five turbines in the Derrykillew area in 2016, after it was refused initially by Donegal Council.
Meanwhile Mr Coyle said he was not opposed to windfarms, but he was calling for another public consultation to be held in Belleek. Speaking in the Breesey Centre, Cashelard, Mr Coyle that the view from the Commons area and beyond showed that these turbines were very “intrusive on the landscape”.
“I came here because I believe that the people of Belleek and the Boa Island Road don’t get the chance to see exactly what is going on. It is impacting on their landscape and that is why I have asked the company to have a consultation in Belleek also.
“This is a cross border windfarm and the opinion of the people around Belleek is just as valid as those in County Donegal. This is to make sure that the people of Belleek can see and make an informed decision on the way they would like to see it proceed”.
Meanwhile Tim Coffey Project Manager at Element Power said that local communities from 5-10 km from the windmills would benefit to the tune of €160,000 for local projects which they were invited to submit.
“We think it is an exciting opportunity for the area as it will give employment opportunities locally. From the Acres project in Ballyshannon there were a lot of local sub contractors employed there while it was being built.
“At one time there were 13 locals working on the site and 11 local farmers benefited from the project.
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