Save The South Leinster Way from Industrial Scale Wind Turbines

Save The South Leinster Way from Industrial Scale Wind Turbines

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Save the South Leinster Way Group started this petition to Colette Byrne (Chief Executive, Kilkenny County Council) and

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Coillte propose to litter County Kilkenny by constructing 21 industrial scale wind turbines directly on The South Leinster Way and drilling the River Arrigle Special Area of Conservation (SAC). With a proposed height of 185m (607 ft) and rotor diameter of 155m (the size of a jumbo jet) the turbines would be substantially larger than any existing turbine on land in Ireland. This scale is normally placed at sea. The proposal was deemed Strategic Infrastructure by An Bord Pleanala and a planning application was submitted on the 28th January 2021.

In the Kilkenny County Development Plan the proposed site is designated as ‘Open for Consideration to Wind Energy’. This means it has a category allowance of ‘Small Scale Wind Development’, which can comprise of no more than 5 turbines with a height of less than 65m and max. output of 5MW.

The planning application made by Coillte is for a windfarm with a category of ‘Large Scale Wind Energy Development’ (>5MW).

Since 2016 Coillte have organised private meetings with a small group of local landowners and stakeholders but there have been no public briefings. An information brochure was distributed in January '20, which was strictly limited to houses within 2km of the proposed windfarm site. A basic online information site only went live in October '20. The public are unaware of it Since then there has been no distribution of information by any means.

For a strategic infrastructure proposal there has been a severe lack of adequate public consultation.

The people of Kilkenny have not been fairly informed on the magnitude and consequence of this proposal for the County. By making a planning application during National restrictions, Coilltes planning strategy has denied the people of their right to any meaningful involvement.

Coillte propose to drill The River Arrigle SAC and to blast three onsite borrow pits for rock within 1500metres of the SAC. Only 13% of Ireland has SAC status and it needs to be protected. As we saw with the recent bogslide in Donegal, irreversible planning mistakes happen. The River Arrigle is a main tributary to The River Nore Special Protection Area (SPA). Any land slippage or pollution caused by the development would have irreversible consequences for the water table, the SAC, the SPA and its wildlife.

While The River Nore (SPA) draws international visitors each year to engage in world-class fishing, the Industrial Scale Turbines would be within a 4 km distance and in direct line of sight of some of Kilkenny’s most famous natural and historical heritage locations: St Molings Well, Jerpoint Abbey, Jerpoint Park, Mount Juliet Estate, Woodstock Estate and Gardens. These historical sites attract thousands of National and International visitors each year and would be directly affected by the interruption of an industrial scale windfarm.

Coillte propose to place the turbines directly on The South Leinster Way by taking in part of its pathways. The scale and scope of the proposed windfarm would have a visual impact on a vast region within the South East stretching into counties Wexford, Waterford and Tipperary. The idyllic views that greet visitors to Ireland’s Ancient East, The Nore Valley, The Arrigle Valley, the Waterford Greenway, The Foothills of the Backstairs Mountains, Brandon Hill would be replaced by the sight, sound and shadow flicker of Industrial Scale Wind Turbines.

Coilltes EIAR identified many species living within the proposed windfarm site that are protected under Irish, EU and International legislation. One such species the Woodcock which has a BoCCI Red List status for conservation has been found to have a large breeding population within the proposed site.

There are 140 residential homes within 2km of the proposed site and 5,000 within South Kilkenny. There is proven and ongoing International research into the effect of wind turbine infrasound and shadow flicker on human health. Particularly for children, those with Autism Spectrum Disorders and those with Epilepsy. The setback distance, scale, quantity and dense arrangement of the turbines being proposed has the potential to cause widespread noise disturbance and shadow flicker thus having the capacity to produce prolonged negative health effects on members of the community.

The new climate emergency bill has identified offshore wind energy as the most efficient solution to Ireland’s climate crisis. Our government has committed to the rapid development of this technology early next year. It makes no sense to litter County Kilkenny with industrial and environmentally destructive wind turbines on land that’s in one of the most scenic parts of Ireland when a much more efficient and environmentally sensitive technology will be available offshore within the next 12 months.

Please act now in order to save the integrity and heritage of County Kilkenny for future generations by taking the following measures….

•             Suspend the current windfarm planning application until circumstances allow for appropriate public consultation. Coillte’s planning strategy has deprived the local and wider community of their right to engage in meaningful participation.

•             Introduce an immediate moratorium on new windfarm developments pending updating of the outdated 2006 National Wind Energy Guidelines.

•             Support legislation to protect our Special Areas of Conservation and biodiversity.

•             Maintain the integrity of Kilkenny’s natural & built heritage by making County Kilkenny a No Go area for ‘Large Scale Wind Energy Developments’.

•             Protect the health and wellbeing of our citizens by prohibiting offshore scale wind turbines on land.

•             Strengthen Kilkenny’s Green Energy Strategy by paving the way as Irelands leader in more efficient green energy solutions.

Kilkenny County has escaped the mass industrialisation that has blighted so many other parts of Ireland. Beautiful natural places in Ireland need to be valued and protected. Once lost they are gone forever.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!