THE group objecting to plans to build Ireland’s largest wind farm in the Finn Valley claim the development will add to flooding issues in the area.
Plans were formally lodged by Planree Ltd in March for the huge turbines, some with a maximum height of 500 feet, stretching from the iconic Barnesmore Gap along a 15 kilometre stretch of the Donegal-Tyrone border to near Castlefin.
However, there has been massive opposition to proposal, with the Finn Valley Win Action Group (FVWAG) managing to get residents on both sides of the border to submit more than 200 objections.
The group is concerned that, in the debate about last weekend’s flooding and the discussion on remedial works and mitigation measures, consideration has not been given to the potential impact of the Carrickaduff Wind Farm.
It says the developers, in their application, have not considered the impact of the removal of an estimated 500,000 cubic meters of peat and spoil, the felling of 122 hectares of trees plus 30 km of roadway, and how these developments would impact on the drainage of the area.
In FVWAG’s submission to An Bord Pleanala, Professor Paul Johnston of Trinity College highlighted what he described as “the applicant’s fatally flawed assessment of peat stability.”
He said the applicant’s analysis was not supported by any scientific modelling and, therefore, had failed to demonstrate that the construction of the wind farm would not pose an unreasonable risk of soil failure and ensuing pollution to the surrounding area.
“Professor Johnston also dealt with the likely hydrological impacts of the development and we are concerned that, if this development were to go ahead, flooding events like those we have experienced in the past week would be tenfold in their extremity,” a spokesperson for the group said.
Planree submitted a requested response to ABP in relation to all the public observations made on the application on October 2. However, the board has yet to decide whether this information is ‘significant’ or not and have yet to release this response to the public.
“This continued delay has naturally caused considerable concern to the community and we have yet to learn to what extent Planree have addressed the concerns raised in our submission to The Bord.” the spokesperson added.
The group also expressed concern at the revelation on Monday night’s RTE Investigates programme about the willingness of elected politicians to “accept inducements” in order to facilitate zoning favourable to wind farm companies.
“The programme highlights the serious questions that exist in the public mind about the integrity of the political and planning process and the ability of well resourced wind farm companies to influence policy, above the interests of local communities like ourselves.”