‘Wind of change needed’

A ‘WIND of change’ is needed in the battle to allow farmers to generate electricity by wind power, Independent councillor Randal McDonnell says.

He was speaking as planners expressed a refusal opinion after Mr Liam Hamilton applied for permission for 225k wind turbine with a 30 metres hub height 1.6 kilometres north west of 150 Torr Road, Cushendun.

Planners say under Planning Policy Statement 18 it would have an unacceptable adverse impact to the visual amenity of the area and would not be sensitive to the landcape quality of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Moyle Council has asked for an office meeting on the matter and Cllr McDonnell said: “We really have to bring this turbine matter to a head.”

He said an applicant needs to take it to an appeal to force the issue.

Cllr Willie Graham (Ulster Unionist) said he was disappointed to see another refusal for a wind turbine and he asked if it is “impossible” to get permission for a wind turbine in the Moyle area.

Planning official Julie McMath said it is not but said they are subject to Planning Policy Statement 18 and it is “very clear that some areas, especially in Moyle, have high sensitivity to wind development.”

New councillor, Noreen McAllister (Sinn Fein), asked for an office meeting with planners.

SDLP councillor Catherine McCambridge said it is disappointing when somebody wants to be progressive and generate their own power and sell on excess back into the electric grid that they are blocked.

In another development, Cllr David McAllister (DUP) said councillors had received a letter from Orra Action Group opposed to more wind turbines on the Antrim Hills.

Cllr Graham said he had visited that area and he said people are against turbines because there already are over 20 and permission has been applied for up to eleven more and the ojectors feel the ‘windmills’ are destroying the landscape.