Strong opposition to proposed Sperrins windfarm

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Members of Broughderg Area Development Association gathered at SSE Airtricity’s public consultation on its proposed Doraville windfarm to register their “total opposition”.

SSE held the event at Cookstown’s Glenavon House Hotel between 4-8pm on Thursday as required under policy on regionally significant developments.

The company will soon submit plans to build 33 turbines - between 136m (10) and 146m (23) in height - in the Sperrins.

Project manager Martha Lovatt told the Mail at the public consultation that plans had been scaled back from the original 36 turbines proposed - and that seven of the turbines had been moved to accommodate the view from Glenelly Valley and active peat.

Forest will also be cleared, but SSE said this woodland is commercial forestry and will be felled no matter what happens with the application.

The height of some planned turbines has been raised by around 10 metres, but SSE said they will be no more visible from key points.

Their tops, however, will still be visible from the ancient Beaghmore Stone Circles, a ‘dark sky’ site that dates back further than Stonehenge. Infrared lighting is being considered because of this.

The view from Beaghmore is one of the main sticking points for Mid Ulster District Council, which has objected to the project for numerous reasons, not least of which was the “potential damage to the intrinsic character and quality of the tourism assets of both the Sperrins AONB and the Beaghmore Stone Circles Complex by reason of the unacceptable visual impact”.

Traffic, unacceptable visual impact, unacceptable adverse impact on built heritage interests like Beaghmore Stone Circles - a regionally important monument in state care - as well as construction traffic damage were also listed.

Broughderg Area Development Association feels the same.

They told the Mail they went to the event to read and submit a statement saying “The members of Broughderg Area Development Association and residents of townlands surrounding Doraville take this opportunity to formally inform SSE that we are totally opposed to the proposal to construct a Doraville wind farm.”

The company has since said: “We welcome all the views that have been expressed, as they have helped to inform us as we seek to further enhance our proposals. As a result, we have been able to develop a new design layout that reflects the views expressed.”