A renewable energy company planning to develop a wind farm of up to eight turbines between Drangan and Cloneen has begun a public consultation process with local residents ahead of submitting a planning application with Tipperary County Council.
Representatives of Dublin based ABO Wind Ireland Ltd called door-to-door to about 100 homes within a 1.5km radius of the proposed windfarm site before Christmas and distributed information leaflets about the project to residents.
The company, which is part of the German ABO Wind Group, is working towards submitting a planning application to Tipperary County Council around May. It will seek permission to erect a wind farm on a site within the townlands of Knockroe, Kilnagranagh and Tullowcussaun. The site is situated between the villages of Drangan and Cloneen but closer to Drangan. It’s about 7km from Slievenamon.
ABO Wind Ireland Ltd director Emmet Egan said the land where the company wishes to develop the windfarm is owned by five local landlowners.
He indicated the company has the option to lease the land from the landowners if planning permission is granted for the project.
ABO Wind Ireland’s information newsletter about the project says the site has a capacity to accommodate approximately eight wind turbines with a maximum overall height of between 150m and 160m.
It says the site falls within the “Areas Open for Consideration” category of the 2016 Tipperary Wind Energy Strategy, which is part of the 2009 South Tipperary Development Plan.
This means wind farms in such areas may be considered appropriate developments subject to detailed environmental assessment and the principles of proper planning and sustainable development.
Mr Egan stressed it will be the function of the planning authority, if it decides to grant planning approval, to decide how many turbines can be erected on the site and their height.
The company has already carried out landscape, visual assessment, ornithology and ecology surveys and an archaeology walkover to establish the Knockroe site’s suitability for a windfarm.
In the months leading to the submission of the planning application, ABO Wind says it is carrying out more detailed environmental studies ranging from ecology, hydrology and shadow flicker to noise traffic and transport to ensure the proposed windfarm would not have an adverse effect on the local environment or residents.
These studies will be compiled into an Environmental Impact Assessment report which will be submitted along with the planning application.
Mr Egan pointed out that if the windfarm goes ahead, the local community will receive funding each year from a Community Benefit Fund.
“What generally happens is a community group is set up and it decides how the money should be spent in the local community,” he explained.
ABO Wind Ireland’s community liaison officer for the project Gary Magee said due to Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings the company are currently unable to do any public information meetings for local residents.
The company has set up a website - www.knockroe-windfarm.com that contains information on the project and updates on its progress.
Mr Magee said there is a forum on the website where you can ask questions about the proposed windfarm and air your views. Mr Magee can be contacted at knockroewindfarm
@abo-wind.com or (01) 2890845.
Councillor calls for public meetings on windfarm proposal when Covid-19 restrictions ease
Cloneen’s local councillor has urged ABO Wind Ireland to organise public information meetings about the windfarm it’s proposing to build in his community when the Covid-19 pandemic has eased and restrictions are lifted.
Fine Gael Cllr Mark Fitzgerald said the windfarm was such a big development that people in Drangan, Cloneen and also Mullinahone will need to be given a chance to publicly air their frustration over the project or their support for it as well as ask questions. He suggested hosting public meetings in each community would help minimise attendance numbers.
Gary Magee of ABO Wind Ireland said they didn’t believe a public meeting was suitable this year even if Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed as the virus will still be a threat. However, he pointed out the company was exploring ways of hosting a virtual town hall style public meeting online as well as a virtual public exhibition space about the windfarm.