Mid Ulster Council oppose Sperrins windfarm with ‘50-storey turbines’

SSE want 36 turbines near Broughderg
SSE want 36 turbines near Broughderg

Mid Ulster District Council will be writing to Department of the Environment to say it opposes the approval of a 36-turbine windfarm in the Sperrin Mountains.

SSE Airtricity applied for permission to build the “substantive” development, which would contain 25 turbines as high as a 50-storey building and a further 11 at 40-storeys, last June.

The Sperrins is protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Sperrins is protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone previously raised concerns about the build, saying it would be ‘like something out of War of the Worlds’.

But until now, the council hadn’t revealed its opinion on the proposed development.

And despite being firmly in favour of the use of renewable energy, it has come out against the wind farm.

Head of planning, Chris Boomer, told councillors at last Thursday’s monthly meeting that a letter to DOE would highlight council’s concerns.

Describing it as “bigger than anything we’ve got in the area” he said the letter would cover issues like visual impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, its “lack of sensitivity to the district’s landscape” and how it could impact on tourism.

Areas of worry include the ancient site of Beaghmore Stone Circles, the site over which Ireland’s darkest skies hang and Davagh Forest.

At the meeting, councillor Brian McGuigan also raised concerns about the impact of heavy cranes and lorries that would be used to transport the turbines, on the area’s rural roads, asking who would pay for such damage.

Councillors McLean and McNamee both said they supported renewable energy, but council also heard that Mid Ulster was ahead of its targets as one of the best performing areas of Northern Ireland, and well on the way to meeting what is expected for 2020.

“One of the reasons we pay so much in electricity is because we subsidise wind energy,” said Cathal Mallaghan, talking about the cost of household bills.

While councillor Bell called for more focus on hydro energy rather than “unreliable” wind power.