Rasharkin Model Flying Club could have to close if the new wind farm cluster substation on the outskirts of the village goes ahead.
According to Gavin McKenna, the founder of the cross-community club, the location of the proposed substation, on land 300m west of 269 Finvoy Road, could result in the club not being able to get insurance from the British Model Flying Association (BMFA) and goes against aviation law.
Speaking to the Times, Mr McKenna explained: “Model Aviation Law states that there can be no flying over buildings or people at a certain height. With the club being in a valley we can only go right or left and this means taking off or landing over the proposed substation.
“I have been speaking to the BMFA and they are now looking into it. If they disapprove then we won’t get insurance and the club will have to close after over 13 years. Obviously this would be devastating for all its 50/60 members and for Rasharkin.
“We’re not against the substation, all we’re are asking for is for it to be moved 10 fields back to the old existing site. Here it would not be near any buildings, the flying club nor the graveyard.”
Mr McKenna who would live 240m from the proposed substation is not only concerned about his flying club but also his family stating: “What about the health risks and the devaluing of property?”
Calling for an Environmental Impact Assessment he added: “I have written to everyone regarding this and nothing. All I want is for an EIA report to be carried out. As a citizen I have rights and I’ve written to the European Commission calling for an EIA. According to Planning Law an EIA needs to be done if the development is over 0.5 hectares, involves a change in voltage level and services more than one person. This substation ticks all these boxes. I just can’t understanding what harm it would do to carry one out?”
At the Planning meeting, Cllr Finlay questioned if Council had heard from the Minister over a request for an EIA. The Chief Executive said: ‘There has been no answer’.