An anti-wind turbine group in Stradbally has objected to plans by a wind energy group to continue using a meteorological mast in the townland of Ballinteskin, as the group fears that it could lead to a large scale wind farm being constructed in the area.
Element Power Ireland Limited, based at Cork Airport Business Park, County Cork, has applied to Laois County Council for permission to continue the use of an existing 80m high lattice type meteorological mast and associated instruments to measure local climatic conditions for a period of two years, at Ballinteskin, Stradbally.
However, a submission has been made to the council by Jackie Carroll, representing the Save Our Stradbally group.
In the submission, the group has said it is strongly objecting to the application of a met mast “that precedes the development of an industrial scale wind farm at this location”.
As the mast has been operational now for over two years the group feels that this period of time should be more than sufficient to measure the meteorological conditions on site.
The current mast came with a number of conditions that have not been adhered to, the group claims.
There was a condition that the developer put a light on the mast within one month of the application being granted in April 2015, but this has never happened.
The group went on to say that in the County Development Plan 2017 - 2023 this area is deemed unsuitable for wind development as a result of an extensive landscape assessment by Laois planners. Therefore there is no need to allow a meteorological mast to test conditions for a potential wind farm.
The group also highlighted the “appalling absence of engagement and meaningful dialogue by the promoter with the local community”.
Concerns will also raised over the visual impact at this “sensitive rural location” as the mast can be clearly seen from the Rock of Dunamase, N80, Stradbally village.
A decision on the planning application is due from the council by May 7.