Consultation begins for wind farm at Bottlehill landfill site

Consultation begins for wind farm at Bottlehill landfill site
Aerial shot of Bottlehill landfill site in Cork

PRE-planning consultations have begun for a wind farm to be constructed on a €50m landfill site that was never opened.

The application, which was made on Christmas Eve, is part of a joint project with Coillte and Canadian firm Brookfield Renewable and looks to include 27 turbines, two substations with battery storage units and ancillary and electrical infrastructure.

Up to €50m was spent turning the Bottlehill site — situated approximately halfway between Blarney and Mallow — into a municipal landfill, but it has been never been opened due to excess landfill sites around the country.

If granted approval by An Bord Pleanala, it is understood the wind farm would take up 25% of the entire Bottlehill site.

Cork City Council said until the final layouts for the wind farm are known the exact area cannot be determined, however, they did say the turbines on Cork County Council land would be positioned outside of the footprint of the empty landfill cells, which were developed to accept household waste from across Munster.

The Council also said that, at present, there were no plans for the rest of the site.

“The built cells on the site remain available to accept waste. The other lands remain available for use as landfill or for other compatible projects,” a council spokesperson said.

Cork County Council were considering five proposals for the use of the site last year after it put out a tender in 2017, looking for expressions of interest from potential users.

One previous proposal was that part of the site would be used by Indaver Ireland to bury ash from its proposed incinerator plant at Ringaskiddy.

Local resident John O Riordan, who was head of the Bottlehill Landfill Association which contested the construction of the site for almost a decade, said he has had some discussions with Brookfield Renewables and Coillte with regards to the project.

He said there was some concern in the local area about the proximity of the wind turbines to houses.

“There are some turbines proposed 150metres from a person’s house and these things are 160 metres in height, so they are looking at that at the moment.”

Mr O’Riordan said that planning permission for the site is not expected to be sought until this August.

He remains on the Monitoring Committee for the landfill site, despite the fact that it is not in use.

“There is an ongoing cost of maintaining the facility and there is an intention to use the site at some stage so it is important to monitor the activity of the site.”

Cork City Council also confirmed that a planning application would not be lodged until the third quarter of 2019.

“There are different opinions in the area, some people are in favour of the project, others are not.”

Mr O’ Riordan said there was also a local group that was campaigning against the proposed wind farm.

Cork County Council said Brookfield Renewables is responsible for consultation with the public and other agencies, given that the project extends to the lands of a number of parties, apart from Cork County Council.

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