The message from a packed room in Gneeveguilla on Monday night rang out clearly: “No one wants these monsters of wind turbines near our homes, our families, our children, our schools or on our land. They are not wanted in any shape or form”.
In the coming weeks every homeowner will receive a letter from a local organising committee, Sliabh Luachra Wind farm, who are vehemently against the turbines. Already, over 50 objections have been lodged, along with one group objection which has 180 signatures to Kerry County Council.
Thomas Fitzpatrick of Sliabh Luachra Windfarm, lives in Knocknaboul, Ballydesmond, and he has lodged an objection to the planning application by Silver Birch Renewables Ltd.
In his objection, he said the proposed turbines would be an imposing presence on his house, as well as on a school and roads. If planning is granted, one turbine will be approximately 600 metres from his front door and would tower over his house. He also said it would be “near impossible” to sell properties locally and he would also be affected by light flicker caused by the turbine blades.
He also cited noise as being a concern and pointed out that hen harriers “fly right across his house every evening” and he also said there is also an endangered barn owl nesting 550 metres from the site of one proposed turbine.
At the meeting, Mr Fitzpatrick said: “If planning is granted it would mean that 160 houses in Ballydesmond would be within one kilometre of these turbines. The turbines are 150 metres high and are some of the biggest in the country which are being planned for a region which doesn’t want them. No one wants these and they are of no benefit to the region.”
Shaun and Bernie O’Rourke live in Ballinahulla, Ballydesmond, with five children under the age of 10. Mr O’Rourke said the proposed turbines which are to be erected 500 metres from their home fills them with “huge concern.”
In the couple’s submission to Kerry County Council, he cited the recent case of some residents in Banteer who left their homes, citing noise and vibrations from turbines which were 1km from their homes.
‘What chance do we have with these turbines 500 metres away. It will be devastating,’ he said.
He also cited shadow flicker and the devaluation of house prices along with the yet, unknown impact on children with special needs, especially children who are vulnerable to the visual and auditory impact of turbine activity. He also stated that the hen harrier is already in the area and another resident previously tried to secure planning on his land for turbines but failed because of the presence of the protected bird.
Mr O’Rourke claimed two leading manufacturers have accepted there are concerns over health and safety around turbines. The most common cause of accidents is blade failure and he noted a recent case in Germany where a blade was catapulted more than 1.3km from the turbine after it malfunctioned.
In the objection, the coupled stated, ‘a single public meeting has taken place organised by the applicants – Silver Birch in Castleisland, which no one locally knew about and consequently no one attended.’
Mr O’Rourke told The Kerryman he has conducted research in which he found articles by Professor Alun Evans outlining a range of effects which turbines can have on adults and children, including the risk of childhood leukaemia along with sleep disturbance and deprivation.
“Professor Evans has recommended a set back or distance of a turbine to be at least 2km away from a home. That is a long way off what we are facing which is only 500 metres,” he said.
At the meeting, Dr Brian McDonnell, an ecologist who lives in the region, read out his objection which he has furnished to Kerry County Council against the application for 14 wind turbines. At the end of it, he received a loud round of applause. He stated that people in the region were already blighted with poor land and roads with constant views of forestry and to enclose the area with wind turbines would further degrade the standard of living as well as homeowners’ right to continue to enjoy uninterrupted views from their properties.
He also claimed the value of properties in the area would drop dramatically with no future hope of moving house without great financial loss and burden.