Wind farm plan has 'not gone down well' in Milltownpass, says county councillor

The news that a renewable energy developer has plans to build a wind farm in the Milltownpass area is “not going down well” with the local community, a county councillor has said.

One of the most vocal opponents to wind energy development taking place in Westmeath, Cllr Andrew Duncan says that he has been contacted by a number of people from the Milltownpass area who are concerned about the prospect of Statkraft building a seven turbine wind farm in the locality.

Cllr Duncan also noted that the proposed development contravenes the guidelines for wind energy development in the Westmeath County Development plan.

“It [the site of the proposed wind farm] is not on cutaway cutover bog. It was the expressed desire of nearly all of the councillors that this would be in our county development plan. They are looking to build a wind farm in an area where it is clearly not wanted and not appropriate. To me, there is no place for it there.”

Cllr Duncan says that Statkraft's plans have been met with concern by a large number of locals.

“It's not going down well at all. I suppose it is still in the early stages but I have gotten quite a few phone calls and I'd imagine that it's going to be widely opposed out there.”

The Fine Gael man added that the site for the proposed wind farm is in “a broadly similar area” to the site where Gaeltech unsuccessfully applied for planning permission for a wind farm in the Gaybrook area over 10 years ago.

According to the Statkraft's project booklet for Milltownpass Wind Farm, the firm plans to construct seven 195m wind turbines with "zero shadow flicker" on a site in the townland of Milltownpass. If the project goes ahead, the firm says that it will generate enough energy for around 29,000 homes.

Statkraft also says that if the project is granted the green light, the local community would benefit from a Community Benefit Fund of up to €240,000 per year during the operational lifespan of the wind farm.