00:00 Saturday 28 March 2009  Written by Frank O Donovan

CANAG protest against plans for wind turbines

MORE than 100 residents from communities in Castletown Kenneigh and Newcestown staged a demonstration outside County Hall in Cork on Monday to protest against plans by a West Cork renewable energy company to install 14 large-scale wind turbines in the area.

A planning application for 14 wind turbines at Belrose Upper, Enniskeane, has been lodged with Cork County Council by Organic Power, which is based in Skibbereen.

Monday was the closing date for observations on the planning application and a decision is due on April 12.

The issue of the wind turbines was not discussed at Monday's meeting of the council, but a number of councillors spoke to the protesters outside County Hall. 

The Castletown and Newcestown Action Group (CANAG) was formed by members of both communities more than two years ago when plans were first announced for the turbines.

CANAG members say that Castletown and Newcestown are vibrant rural communities with a high density of population and they have been against the proposal to build the turbines in the area from the outset.

In a statement issued at the weekend CANAG claimed that this was not a green issue, and called the group's opposition to Organic Power's plans a "David versus Goliath battle." The group also accused Organic Power of hijacking the green agenda.

CANAG members have been lobbying politicians and councillors over the issue during the past two years.

They say they are doubtful about Organic Power's claims that a high proportion of people surveyed by the company are in favour of wind turbines in the area.

The controversial issue of building wind turbines in Enniskene was first proposed by Organic Power nearly two years ago. The company originally intended to submit a planning application for 18 wind turbines in the area.

A representative of Organic Power was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

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