Concerns over plans for new windfarm near Dunmanway

February 10th, 2022 11:45 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Cousane Gap: the plans are for a windfarm with nine wind turbines in the townland of Gortaloughra.

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A FAMILY who are opposed to the development of a windfarm on the side of the Shehy Mountains say they are in the process of forming a group to try and put a stop to the project.

Kristin Laubach, who lives at Toreen in Dunmanway, said there are already two windfarms in the area at Shehymore and Carrigarierk, and that a third would ‘ruin the only flank that is still free’ of turbines.

She was referring to the R585 scenic route leading to the Cousane Gap and she was adamant that if this goes ahead, ‘all that will be seen on the Bantry line is a long line of windmills.

‘When I first arrived here, 35 years ago, it was so wild. Now, there is so much destruction,’ she said.

Ms Laubach said the two existing windfarms were ‘unsuccessfully fought in court’ and, on this occasion, locals would submit observations to An Bord Pleanala to try and prevent it going ahead.

A spokesperson for EMPower, which is based in Dublin, confirmed it is currently investigating the potential for a windfarm in the townland of Gortaloughra.

It is understood that EMPower is proposing to develop a windfarm with nine turbines up to a height of 185m and that the surveys are a precursor to submitting planning permission to An Bord Pleanála as a strategic infrastructure development.

‘An environmental impact assessment is underway to investigate the potential impact of the project on the surrounding environment,’ a company spokesperson stated.

‘EMPower has been engaging with the local community via leaflet drops, webinars, and phone calls, but now that government restrictions have been rolled back, we will be hosting a face-to-face consultation event in Dunmanway in late February,’ he said.

Kristin emphasised how tired she feels ‘having to defend my immediate surroundings yet again against the onslaught of an out of scale industrial development, which has no place on the slopes of such an iconic mountain as Shehy mountain.’

It is her contention that the proposed development is ‘not inherently green’ because ‘it will not contribute to reducing our carbon footprint’ due to the increased demand of data centres, the use of concrete, and the destruction of bog which is a good carbon sink.

‘West Cork is saturated with windmills and our biodiversity is suffering,’ she concluded.

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