A Belfast university professor who has spoken openly about his concerns on potential health effects on those living close to turbines is to be a lead speaker at this Thursday night’s (today) public meeting on the windfarms issue, in the Bloomfield House Hotel at 7.30pm.
Professor emeritus Alun Evans has also had an editorial on the subject published in the British Medical Journal.
Westmeath is to the fore in the fight against the proposal to create large windfarms across the midlands, having set up its Lakeland Windfarm Information Group to oppose the plans of Element Power, promoters of the Greenwire project, and Mainstream Renewable Power, promoters of the Energy Bridge concept.
Other counties in the midlands are only now waking up to the full extent of the proposals for massive wind farms across the midlands, according to Andy Duncan, who will also speak at this week’s meeting.
“I’ve been getting two or three phonecalls a day from people,” he says, adding that most had only heard that the turbines were to go into the Bog of Allen, and not on agricultural land through the five midland counties of Meath, Westmeath, Longford, Offaly and Laois.
“They’re coming to us now looking for advice on setting up groups in their own areas,” said Mr Duncan.
Among the issues of concern to Mr Duncan, an auctioneer by profession, is the effect that windfarms have on property prices nearby.
“There are lots of reports on the effects on property prices, and there is a definite effect on property,” he says.
Mr Duncan points out that in Britain, the government has transferred certain houses that are close to turbines into lower tax bands for council tax (the equivalent of the new Irish property tax).
Areas in Westmeath which appear to be in the sights of the windfarm developers include: Ballinea, Dysart, Ballymore, Drumraney; Killucan, Bracklyn, Griffinstown, Kinnegad, Raharney, Rochfortbridge; Rathowen, Ballinalack to Legan, Ballynacargy, and also Cartrons, Gaybrook.