An Oral Hearing into a proposed wind farm development in south Longford has heard a claim that the 24 turbines will not be out of proportion with any existing landscape features
The two-day hearing has been hearing from Bord na Mona and Powergen this morning, while objections to the proposal are set to outline their views this afternoon.
The hearing is well attended today by members of the No to Derryadd Wind farm opposition group which includes local residents in and around the proposed wind farm on bog land just outside Lanesborough in Longford.
The hearing is set to hear from around 20 different groups on both sides of the proposal over the course of today and tomorrow and so far today it’s heard from employees and experts from Tobin Consulting Engineers and Bord na Mona.
This morning the hearing has heard from Richard Mulcahy from Matheson Solicitors who set out the details of the argument the Bord Na Mona side would present, one of the main points being that Bord na Mona doesn’t consider it’s a case of either, or, when it comes to having a wilderness park on disused bogland.
Sean Creedon, the Planning and Environmental Manager for Powergen led the presentations earlier and he talked about the wind farm and how it is intended to operate for a period of 30 years.
He said it would produce the equivalent of enough electricity to support over 56,000 households per year and support 6 to 8 long term technical jobs in operation and maintenance roles.
Richard Barker who addressed landscape and visual concerns expressed in relation to the wind farm said that in regard to the height of the turbines, the guidance for Flat Peatland sites suggests that “aesthetically, tall turbines would be most appropriate..”
He said for these reasons it is considered that the proposed Derryadd Turbines are not “totally out of proportion” with any existing landscape features in the area as was commonly suggested in submissions.
He also pointed out that with a minimum setback distance of 750 metres being provided from the nearest dwelling, the view of 185 metre turbines would be the equivalent of 124 metre turbines which would be considered modest scale by today’s standards.
Presentations on hydrology and hydrogeology relating to water sources and impact on surrounding bogland have also been given so far today with the experts stating that the risk of flooding would be minimal as a result of the building of the turbines, and the development would not be likely to cause flooding elsewhere either.
The Oral Hearing has been hearing an extensive presentation about biodiversity and more particularly bird life in the last hour or more and answering concerns expressed by Birdwatch Ireland and the ISCPA in submissions they’ve already made to An Bord Pleanala.
Dr Tom Gitting, who is an independent ecological consultant with specific expertise in ornithological assessments for wind farm projects said that he had carried out a Collision Risk Modelling Report, and had carried out a number of field surveys as well as an analysis of Whooper Swan flight lines and distribution patterns.
Dr Gittings said that as a result of his work he has carried out he believes the collision risk for swans and others birds would only become potentially significant if there has been a very large decline in the population of that bird, and his risk models had not predicted any significant collision risk to either Whooper Swans or Golden Plover.
Dr Gittings also said that while there are records of displaying Curlew in the area of one proposed turbine, its conservation significance wasn’t clear, and he said regarding the other red-listed bird, the Merlin, dedicated surveys would be needed to assess the breeding status of that bird in and around the wind farm site.
The hearing will continue this afternoon and will hear concerns from the Derryadd Wind Farm Opposition group, local residents and other groups.