Planning bid for South Westmeath windfarm
A controversial planning bid for nine wind turbines, with a tip height of 185 metres, in the Moyvoughley and Drumraney areas of South Westmeath has been formally lodged with An Bord Pleanála.
The proposal for the windfarm, officially named the Umma More Renewable Energy Development, has taken shape over the last two years, and the planning application was lodged on Friday last (March 10).
According to the application, 18 separate landowners gave consent to have their land used for the project, which is being developed in association with Cork-based company Enerco Energy Ltd.
The application states that the development would be located 2km southwest of Ballymore, and 6.6km north of Moate, in the townlands of Ballynafearagh, Raheen, Baskin High, Baskin Low, Lissanode, Umma Beg or Moneynamanagh, and Umma More.
It would consist of nine turbines, "with an overall ground-to-blade tip height of 185 metres; a rotor blade diameter of 162 metres; and hub height of 104 metres," as well as associated foundations and hardstanding areas.
Access to the windfarm site is proposed "via an existing access track" off the L5363 local road.
The application is for a 30-year lifespan for the turbines, "from the date of full commissioning of the wind farm". An Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Natura Impact Statement were submitted by the applicant in support of the development.
A separate application is due to be lodged for a grid connection, involving 31km of underground electrical cabling, between the windfarm and the Thornsberry 110kV substation, near Tullamore.
The application for the windfarm is being made directly to An Bord Pleanála after it decided last August that the project met the criteria to be considered a 'strategic infrastructure development' and could, therefore, bypass the county council's planning process.
A website for the development stated that it had the potential to make "a significant contribution to achieving the country's renewable energy targets and assist in reducing Ireland's dependency on fossil fuels".
However a number of local residents have expressed opposition to the windfarm since the proposal first emerged, and local councillors Vinny McCormack and Tom Farrell have also raised concerns in relation to it.
A Facebook page entitled, 'No to Wind Farm in Ballymore, Drumraney, Moyvoughley Area' has also been active.
Full details of the planning application can be viewed on the website: ummamoreplanning.com