Glassdrummond community objects to proposed wind turbine

May 7, 2013

Glassdrummond residents  had the chance to air their opposition to the proposed installation of a huge wind turbine near the village, in a community meeting convened by Sinn Fein Councillors Colman Burns and Terry Hearty last Thursday evening.

Reacting to recent letters sent by the Department of Environment informing residents of the intention to erect the massive turbine near the old army lookout post overlooking the village, around forty members of the tightly knit community came together to share their concerns about the health and social implications of the turbine and to move forward with their steadfast campaign against it.

The Examiner spoke to a community representative who said the DoE proposal had sparked major fears among the local population regarding documented health risks, property devaluation and the effects on the nearby wildlife environment as well as farming in the area.

Local fears have been compounded by the fact that the intended turbine is an industrial sized model with blades measuring 56.5 metres and a tower of 61.5 metres, making it one of the biggest wind turbines in the province.

During Thursday’s meeting the group discussed the findings from documented research which has shown a detrimental effect on children with learning difficulties or autism, who were exposed to the noise of a wind turbine, as well as the health risks for children of low birth weight, underweight or premature children and those with hearing problems.  All were felt to be most at risk from living in the vicinity of a wind turbine.

In addition to letters of objection from individual households sent to the DoE, the community group intends to outline these health risks to the DoE as well as their objections to the proximity of the turbine to local residences.  Official recommendations state that the nearest home should be 550 metres away from a wind turbine of this scale but the group will highlight that the nearest house is only 340 metres away from the proposed site.

The impact on wildlife and the environment has also prompted concerns, with the Loughaveeley area around Glassdrummond Lake less than half a mile away.  The designated area of special scientific interest houses rare species of bats and buzzards as well as a protected species of ravens -all of which will suffer as the noise and reverberation of the turbine will stretch across the flight zone of these rare birds.

Experts have also cited the anticipated effect on fish in the lake with nearby farmers also concerned as to how cattle and horses may be impacted by their proximity to the turbine.

With the noise of the turbine expected to be heard throughout the village, the community have fears regarding the devaluation of their homes in the shadow of the turbine and are also worried that enrolment for Glassdrummond schools will dwindle as parents choose to send their children to schools outside of the turbine zone, or residents decide to move away.

The community member revealed the group have appealed to the local owner of the site of the proposed wind turbine to attend the public meeting s to hear the grievances of his community.  The spokesperson also reiterated that Glassdrummond residents do not object to wind turbines on a much smaller scale than the one proposed and feel that it is “ironic and hypocritical” that attempting to introduce “green energy” to the area could have such a potentially devastating impact on the surrounding environment as well as the health of the people living in the vicinity.

A committee was formed on the night and a further meeting is scheduled for 13th May at 8.30pm in Glassdrummond School.  The committee are inviting all concerned members of the community to come along and support the campaign, and for those who have yet to submit their objection letters to do so now.

The group intends to vigorously oppose the turbine and will consider delivering a community petition to the DoE as well as inviting officials from the department to attend a meeting to listen to the concerns of residents.