CORK County Council is due to make a planning decision in relation to a major windfarm project in North Cork early in the new year.
Annagh Wind Farm Limited lodged plans with the Council on December 2, 2021, for planning permission to construct six wind turbines with a blade tip height of 175m at locations in Annagh North, Coolcaum, Fiddane, Cooliney, Rathnacally, Farranshonikeen, Ardnageehy and Clashganniv, County Cork. The turbines would have a rotor diameter of 150m and a hub height of 100m.
The plans entail the construction of turbine foundations and crane pad hardstanding areas, new site tracks and drainage infrastructure, along with the upgrade of an entrance on to local road L1322.
The plans include provision for a new watercourse or drain crossing and the re-use or upgrading of an existing internal watercourse and drain crossings, the construction of a permanent onsite 38kV electrical substation to ESBN specifications including a control building with welfare facilities, parking, a wastewater holding tank, rainwater harvesting, and security fencing.
The proposal is for a temporary construction site compound and infrastructure including parking, with tree felling to facilitate construction and operation of the proposed development, along with installation of medium voltage (20/33kV) and communication underground cabling between the proposed turbines and the proposed on-site substation.
The plans envisage the building of one permanent meteorological mast with a height of 100m above ground level and associated access track, with the installation of medium voltage (38kV) underground cabling and associated works between the proposed on-site substation and the existing Charleville Substation within the townland of Rathnacally.
The proposed grid connection will be installed primarily within the public road and will include two watercourse crossings and the installation of eight pre-cast joint bays.
Planning is requested for a 10-year permission and 35-year operational life from the date of commissioning of the entire wind farm. This application is accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Natural Impact Statement.
The plans have attracted a considerable number of observations and submissions.
One submission said: “The community in its entirety is seriously concerned regarding the development”.
In the same submission it was said: “This development is in an area where it is substantially normally discouraged to apply for planning permission according to the county development plan,” and concerns for wildlife, noise and shadow flicker, and the visual impact, particularly on Dromina sports field, were raised.
“These turbines are so large that they will interfere with the perspective behind the goals and confuse players. I can attest to how difficult it is to score under normal circumstances but with this added confusion and interference it will be very difficult indeed.”
A local resident said the “nearest turbine would be approximately 850 metres away from my home. The turbines would create noise by day and night, thereby reducing the peaceful character of the area to the detriment of my family with possible adverse health implications.”
The resident also had concerns relating to health and safety, flooding, road access, property values, and the impact on nature.
Another submission writer said the area is a sanctuary for wild geese, and the turbines would pose a “serious threat” to birds and bats in their flight paths.
Submissions were made by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Irish Aviation Authority, Geological Survey Ireland, Irish Water, Gas Networks Ireland, and the Departments of Defence, Agriculture, and Housing, among others.
The case was set to be decided by December 12, but this has been put back to on or before January 6, 2023.