Wind turbines battles erupt in north Antrim

A general picture of a wind farm. David Cheskin/PA
A general picture of a wind farm. David Cheskin/PA

BALLYCASTLE Independent councillor Seamus Blaney says he cannot understand how wind farms can get planning permission for scenic areas like near north Antrim’s Orra Mountain but yet single turbines are turned down elsewhere.

He was speaking at a meeting of Moyle Council where it was heard planners are of the opinion to refuse a single turbine with a base height of 37 metres and a maximum output of 250kw at Torr Road in the Glens.

Planners say that in safeguarding tourism assets the site lies within the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the turbine would have an unacceptable visual impact.

Planners added that when the application is viewed with two wind turbines which are currently the subject of ‘valid but undetermined applications’ that cumulatively they would have a detrimental visual impact.

And planners also point out there would be a noise impact.

Cllr Blaney asked: “We have an Area of Outstanding Natural Beaty up at Orra but yet it is infested with wind turbines so why can’t we have one in Torr?”

A planning official said it “comes down to landscape values put on different areas”.

In another case planners are of the opinion to refuse a single wind turbine at Hillside Road, Armoy, stating reasons of visual impact, noise impact and access arrangements.

North Antrim DUP MLA Paul Frew asked for an office meeting.

Planners are also of the opinion to refuse permission for a proposed wind turbine at Moyarget Road near Ballycastle.

They stated there is an impact on a raised bog and further stated there would be an impact on bats and newts along with noise impact.

A planning official said the area is Lagge Fen which is a “very rare habitat”

* Approval was given by planners for John McCambridge to develop a microhydroelectric renewable energy system to generate electricity on the Carey River near Ballycastle.

With the cost of electricity continuing to rise and also the increased public consciousness of ‘green energy’ it seems likely that more applications for wind turbines and water schemes will continue to be made in north Antrim and beyond.