Right of way rejected for county Cork windfarm

Right of way rejected for county Cork windfarm
Members of the Nagle View Turbine Awareness group protesting against a windfarm plan for Bottlehill, Co Cork outside County Hall

A PROPOSAL to grant a right of way for a windfarm at Bottlehill has been rejected by Cork County Council.

The decision to reject access to the site was taken at a meeting in County Hall where members of the public had gathered in the public gallery.

A proposal has been put forward for a 22-turbine development at Bottlehill, on a site 23km from Cork city — situated approximately halfway between Blarney and Mallow at Glannasack.

The site was formerly earmarked for the development of a landfill dump, with €50m spent on the project before it was scrapped.

The output from a windfarm is expected to supply energy to over 70,000 homes.

Councillor Gearoid Murphy suggested the council defer the decision until the imminent windfarm guidelines were released, replacing the current 2006 guidelines.

This suggestion gathered support from a number of councillors. However, chief executive Tim Lucey said it was not an option and if the councillors did not vote on the motion, the decision would be passed over to the chief executive.

Mr Lucey highlighted the economic benefits of the proposal.

Aerial shot of Bottlehill landfill site in Co. Cork
Aerial shot of Bottlehill landfill site in Co. Cork

“It is recommending that you would dispose of a right of way over land and allow four turbines to be built in a wider development of a windfarm,” Mr Lucey said.

“It is the utilisation of an asset and there is significant revenue to be gathered from this type of development.”

Councillor James Kennedy said it was too soon to make a decision and it was imperative to wait until they had more information.

Fine Gael councillor Kay Dawson called on the chamber to reject the proposal saying citizens come before windmills. A number of councillors, including Fianna Fáil’s Frank O’Flynn, expressed concern at the lack of communication and information coming from the developer, Brookfield.

Mr Lucey said it was his understanding that the developer had engaged in consultation with the local community and said it was not up to him to say whether that consultation was extensive or not.

Following a vote, the proposal was defeated by 44 to 3, with six abstentions.

Up to €48m was spent turning the site into a municipal landfill but it has been idle for several years due to excess landfill sites around the country. The proposed windfarm is set to take up up to 25% of the site.

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