Storm erupts over wind turbine

ANGER has been expressed by councillors after planners expressed a refusal opinion regarding a wind turbine at Ballintoy because it would impact on the setting of the Giant’s Causeway several miles away.

Planners are of the opinion to refuse permission for a 250Kw wind turbine with a hub height of 40 metres on a site 550 metres north of 13 Ballinlea Road. The applicant is Mr Wesley Kane.

But planners said it would have an unacceptable adverse impact on visual amenity and landscape character.

At a meeting with Moyle Council, planning officer Julie McMath said the planned scheme is close to the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Path and could potentially be seen from the path.

She said there is a ‘protection zone’ around the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site of four kilometres.

DUP councillor David McAllister said: “It will impact no more on the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage site than it will on the harbour in Ballycastle.”

And DUP councillor Robert McIlroy added: “They will soon tell us they only want the trees to be so high.”

Moyle Council Chairperson, Cllr Price McConaghy (Independent), said it was annoying to see another wind turbine turned down.

“We are being advised all the time about renewable energy but yet they are turned down. I think it is totally wrong. I feel very much they are not being treated fairly at all.”

Cllr McAllister added: “I think it is ridiculous, especially in this economy with the cost of oil, that the planners are going to throw PPS18 at this.”

The councillor said wind turbines need to be on a ridge and would be no use “stuck down in a hole”.

Ulster Unionist councillor Willie Graham asked for an office meeting with planners and he hoped that planners will see the Ballinlea Road is well away from the Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre.