Residents of a rural north Meath community have expressed serious concern about a project to locate five wind turbines within a short distance from their homes.
Tierworker locals say the 120 metre high Teevurcher site turbines now under construction - said to be the tallest in Ireland so far - are “well within” the recommended guideline of 500 metres from any residence.
They claim that while 33 homes in all will be affected, eight are inside that guideline - one of them 370 metres.
Local resident Albert Pringle said that people in the area were “very down in the dumps about this whole thing”.
He said there had been a “stop start” aspect to the development, with the SSE company, a subsidiary of Airtricity, involved at the early stages and was given planning permission by Meath County Council in mid-2013. The residents say that the project was sold on to the NTR company.
It was also claimed that there would be no benefit from the €11 million project for local residents, and that power generated from the turbines would be sold on to the UK.
The site designated for the turbines is 800 metres above sea level and Mr Pringle said that while Meath County Council had granted planning permission and that the application for the wind farm had gone through proper planning procedures, residents still felt that there had not been proper consultation.
He said that reports about a possible wind farm had first circulated in 2001. “A test mast was put up in 2003 but nothing happened. Everybody felt it was not going to happen and although a notice went up, people just ignored it after a while”, he said.
Mr Pringle said that a committee of residents had been formed in the last month.
“We know the project is going to go ahead and that we can’t stop it. While the company has been co-operative we are worried about the people within the 500m guideline and we are seeking compensation for them. People who are going to put up with these turbines near their homes are entitled to proper compensation,” he said.
A spokesperson for NTR told the ‘Meath Chronicle’ that planning permission includes certain requirements around, for example, ensuring minimal noise disruption, with which they claim to be fully complying with.
“Since acquiring the project, NTR has been in regular dialogue with the Tierworker community to assure them that we will construct and manage the project in full compliance with its planning permission requirements and we will work to minimise disruption wherever possible.
“We have also informed the community of our plans to provide an attractive fund to support community causes once the wind farm is operational. During the operating life of the windfarm, the windfarm will contribute an estimated €1.5m to the local authority through rates and €625,000 to the local community though our community fund.”