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Planning Board's Decision will destroy Donegal's cultural traditions!
Sunday February 20, 2011 19:41 by Gweebarra Conservation Group - Gweebarra Conservation Group gweebarraconservation at gmail dot com
In spite of numerous objections the Planning Board has granted permission for 13 industrial wind turbines in ten townlands outside Glenties in South West Donegal
The Gweebarra Conservation Group has described as 'very disappointing' the decision by An Bord Pleanala to grant Permission for 13 industrial turbines in ten townlands outside Glenties.
No-one would sanction felling trees in the rain forest to erect wind turbines yet this is precisely what the current government is doing by giving tax incentives to private investors to destroy our hills and bogs.The bog lands in these Gaeltacht townlands (Graffy, Meenagrubby, Meenaleenaghan, Meenchuit, Dalraghan More, Meenamanragh, Meenavale, Grennans, Stralinchy and Mully) are just as important as the rain forests in absorbing C02. These are precious habitats which support a large variety of protected species, as well as the Irish-speaking families who have lived in this beautiful valley for generations.
Wind energy is not sustainable when turbines are erected on bog land because more C02 is released into the atmosphere than the turbines would ever offset in hundreds of years. It is the 'Con with the Wind' and local politicians, council officials, the Planning Board and the Dept. of Energy & Natural Resources are colluding with developers to the detriment of the local community.
Just as the Government has given away the oil and gas off our coast they are now prepared to industrialize rural Donegal so that private investors can profit.
This decision signals the death of the Gaelic cultural traditions in this area which is famed world wide for its fiddling tradition.
People will be forced to move away to avoid the health dangers of living within 2-4km of the turbines which emit low frequency noise, undetectable to the human ear, but which disturb human and animal sleep patterns, cause sore ears and affect the vascular and nervous systems.Together these symptoms are called 'wind turbine syndrome'.
In addition there are health dangers associated with the high voltage power lines which are needed to take power away from wind farms. These power lines are proven to increase cancer rates if located within 2km of peoples' homes.
Donegal County Council and An Bord Pleanala are going against best international practice by allowing industrial turbines and high voltage power lines to be located within 500m of people's homes. Developers are getting tax incentives to build these wind farms but there is no compensation for the local community who stand to loose so much.
The Planning permission states that these sites will be restored in 25 years time but it is just ridiculous to suggest that after excavating hundreds of thousands of tonnes of peat from our glens and hills and replacing the peat with concrete that this process can be reversed. The damage is done when the wind farm is erected and the land cannot be restored.
Our tourism industry will be destroyed as no-one will come to a county festooned with turbines on every hill.
The Board states the fact that the ESB /Eirgrid got planning permission for a 110kv high voltage power line as one of the reasons for granting permission to the wind farm, even though work on the high voltage power line has not begun. Donegal people now expect planning applications all along the route of the high voltage power line which dissects the Donegal Gaeltacht.
Why should the wind investors profit at the expense of the local community whose health is endangered and whose property is devalued by up to 80% within view of a wind farm?
The Australian Senate has called for an international public inquiry on the subject of wind farms while the Ontario government has stopped all offshore wind farm developments until more research is conducted into their safety yet Donegal planners are ignoring all the latest research and granting planning permission to 70% of all wind farm applications in the County.
The land is all we have in Donegal and it cannot be replaced. It inspires our language, our music, our songs and numerous artists. If the land is allowed to be destroyed then all of our cultural traditions will die with it.
The main political parties support wind energy in spite of the implications for our peat lands, our culture and and our fledgling tourism industry.
People must let the politicians know that we will not be forced off the land so that private investors can profit at our expense. We have already seen what these developers have done to our economy and they cannot be allowed to destroy our countryside and our culture too.