A wind energy group has been granted permission to continue using a meteorological mast in the townland of Ballinteskin, despite objections from an anti-wind turbine group in Stradbally.
Element Power Ireland Limited, based at Cork Airport Business Park, County Cork, 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 was made to the council by Jackie Carroll, representing the Save Our Stradbally group.
In the submission, the group said it strongly objected 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 felt that this period of time should be more than sufficient to measure the meteorological conditions on site.
The group said that 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.
Concerns were 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.
The group claimed that the majority of local residents have signalled their firm opposition to this project.
Despite the objections, Laois County Council has now granted retention of the mast, subject to three conditions.