People living in the shadow of a proposed windfarm in the Sperrins,are fearful of the impact of what they describe as “monster” turbines.
A planning application was submitted last month for six turbines with a maximum height of 126.5 metres on land in the Beltonanean, Ballynasollus, Beleevna-More and Ballynagilly townlands of Cookstown.
If given the go ahead by planners, the windfarm would be adjacent to the archaeologically significant Beaghmore Stone Circles, Davagh Forest and the stunning backdrop of the Sperrin Mountains, all of which attract huge numbers of visitors annually, and which are home to a number of native bird and animal species, including the Irish Hare, hen harrier and cuckoo.
And while a group of concerned residents have launched a campaign to oppose the development on the grounds of potential noise pollution and environmental impact, those behind the project claim the windfarm will be delivered “in a responsible and compliant manner”.
One woman who lives close to the proposed development, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the MAIL she had visited simuilar turbines.
“These turbines are monsters. They are a similar size to turbines in Dungiven and to the one which fell in Fintona recently.
“A number of families in this area are very much against this proposal because even though the developers try to tell you that you won’t hear them, I have driven up close to others and you cannot but hear the swish, swish, of these things.
“Then there is the magnetic frequency that they emit which is a concern. The current noise regulations that are used are out of date and not fit for purpose, in our opinion.
“Many complaints made about wind turbines relate to sleep disturbance.
“Yet the noise standard used by PPS 18 is the only noise guidance in the entire world that recommends higher levels of noise during the night than during the day.”
The group spokesperson also outlined her concerns about the impact of the proposed development on wildlife in the area.
“Habitats will be destroyed, as they plough through Davagh Forest to transport the materials to site. Wildlife like the Irish Hare and many bats and birds can be killed by the blades, especially buzzards and hen harriers, and the cuckoo, which are native to our area.
“It beggars belief that it could be considered acceptable to build something of this scale in an area of outstanding natural beauty like ours.”