Safety fears over ESB lines to Cullenagh wind farm

Planning application meets with objections from residents and groups

Safety fears over ESB lines to Cullenagh wind farm
By Ryan Dunne @laoisnews

Objections are mounting to a proposed electrical connection which would run across the county from a substation in Portlaoise to a controversial wind farm in the area of Cullenagh.

The Coillte Teoranta wind farm, comprising of 18 turbines located to the east of Ballyroan and to the south west of Timahoe, was refused permission by Laois County Council in October, 2013, following massive local opposition, but was granted under appeal by An Bord Pleanala in June of 2014.

Now locals and groups are once again making submissions to the council, objecting to Coillte’s plans to provide a 38KV electric underground connection to the wind farm, which would pass through Cullenagh, Cloncullane, Pass and Kylekiproe.

Many property owners along the proposed grid route have not provided consent for a wayleave across their property.

Many of them said that they had not been informed of the potential health impacts of an underground cable in close proximity to their home.

Ms Paula Byrne, Cullenagh, whose child attends primary school in Ballyroan by which the 38KV line will pass, said she had not been informed of the effect of a high voltage line so close to small children.

She said that researchhas stated that “the relationship between ELF-MF and childhood leukemia remains consistent with possible carcinogenicity in humans”.

“In the case of any uncertainty regarding the health of young children close to high voltage lines, it is imperative that Coillte use alternative options,” said Ms Byrne.

Mr Seamus Fingleton, representing People Over Wind, Cullenagh, said that landowners would begin legal proceedings unless Laois County Council withdrew the “slander of title” concerning permission to Coillte to develop across the landowners’ land.

The People Over Wind group also said that the application was invalid as works had already commenced on site on July 18/19, 2016.