what has been happening…
The above image shows a photomontage from the Coillte website with the turbines (there are 7 x 178m) placed on the hill on the shoulder of Mount Leinster, right of the Nine Stones. Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs Mountain range is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and has wonderful, panoramic views. The image below is also from the photomontage slide show and is a proposed new skyline from Carroll’s Crossroads near Kilbrannish Forest park/Corraby Gap on the Myshall to Bunclody Road about about 2km from the Nine Stones viewpoint.
In Oct 2019, landowners in a 2km radius of the proposed windfarm on the slopes of Mount Leinster, were invited to an exhibition. This took place in the Coillte nursery in Ardattin, Co Carlow. After the event there was a follow-up email in November 2019. Here is content of the exhibition from the 65-page scoping report by Consultants Fehily Tomoney who wrote the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR).
Covid-19 restrictions have meant that meetings are difficult as gatherings have to be small. No clinics, webinars, or postal or flyers drops were organised by the well-resourced semi-state forestry company, Coillte. There was no information available to people in the area outside of the 2KM proposed project zone, nor to the general public for over a year since the exhibition in Oct 2019. In every other walk of life, from local and general elections to regular government pandemic updates, local and national news has been available online or disseminated widely.
At the end of Nov 2020, a brochure about the project titled ‘Croaghaun Wind Farm – Final Pre-Planning Information Booklet’ was sent by post to people in the 2km area and other people who had requested information.
At the same time, end of November/early December 2020, a Coillte wind farm information website about the Mount Leinster project went live. This is the only publicly accessible information since the project began. On this site, Coillte showed on their timeline that their planning permission would be lodged in Dec 2020. The website was available for just over one week before the official planning process for the windfarm started. That was the the ‘public consultation’.
On Friday 6th December 2020, an UPLIFT campaign was launched by the Blackstairs and Barrow Valley group outlining the lack of knowledge and grave concerns the public have for this proposed wind farm in the Blackstairs mountains and looking for the SAC to be protected and strengthened. The windfarm is 400m from the SAC.
In two weeks this campaign had over 2,000 signatures. People were asked to sign and share this petition. Also people were asked to contact their local Co Carlow, Carlow-Kilkenny and South East public representatives by phone, email, letter or (masked) face to face, and let them know the concerns of the public. Here is the campaign text.
On Tues Dec 8th 2020 a planning notice appeared in a local newspaper – The Carlow Nationalist. This planning application was not lodged into Carlow Council Council before Christmas.
Coillte placed a second planning notice in the local Carlow Nationalist newspaper on Tues 12th Jan 2021.
Coillte placed planning notices on Kilbrannish Hill on 14th Jan 2021.
The application received by Carlow Co Co on 15th Jan 2021 was ‘deemed invalid’ and returned to Coillte.
Coillte replaced planning notices on Kilbrannish Hill on 21st Jan 2021.
Coillte re-lodged an application with Carlow Co Co on Fri 22nd Jan 2021. Planning application number 2113. Submissions/objections were due to the Co Co by Thursday 25th Feb 2021. Here is some general information on how to support of object to a planning application with a local authority.
Over 80 people attended a well-run, informative and fully interactive ‘Virtual Town Hall’ meeting on Thursday 4th February from 7.30-9 pm in our Zoom Hall. Our community discussed the current windfarm proposal by Coillte at Corraby Gap/ Kilbrannish at Mount Leinster. Individuals and groups who are making an objection to this windfarm proposal discussed points to consider in their submission. Due to demand a similar second town hall meeting took place with over 60 people on Tuesday 9th Feb. Attendees included farmers, local residents , paragliders & hang gliders, walkers, mountain bikers, B&B owners and artists, Councillors, tourism providers and businesses in the area.
YouTube video – watch Niall Toner, Musician and Broadcaster talk about his love of the area. Filmed and edited by Fiaz Farrelly.
Our ‘Go Fund Me’ appeal was started @ https://gofund.me/85877bd0 to fund our way through the planning and legal process. It is also to show that there is widespread support for preserving our wild places.
ROUND 1 – Carlow Co Co
THANK YOU to everyone who submitted an objection to Carlow Co Co by 5pm Thursday 25th February 2021. The 293 submissions received representing 100s of nearest neighbours, village and town communities, local and national organisations, local political representatives and government agencies are available to view online at the Carlow Co Co planning website – ref 2113.
Carlow Co Co REFUSED planning permission on 18th March 2021 and the full text of the refusal is available on the Carlow Co Co website and on the FAQ on this website.
ROUND 2 – An Bord Pleanála
Round 2 is 4 weeks from 18th March 2021. Coillte CGA can and more than likely will challenge the refusal decision to An Bord Pleanála (ABP). It is essential that the Save Mount Leinster campaign, local communities, and individuals once again work together to meet this challenge if they wish to stop Coillte from opening up the Blackstairs mountains to industrial wind farms. SML believe that if Coillte appeal this decision, that they intend to invest considerably in the area and that this 7 turbine development in only the start.
This SML submission team are busy working away and indeed many of the experts that have provided valuable information, will continue to advise, and assist with the ROUND 2 challenge to the Coillte CGA appeal at An Bord Pleanála in less than 4 week’s time.
We hosted another virtual town hall meeting to update people about this new ‘round’ and also to advise and encourage individual observations to An Bord Pleanála. If you prefer, to assist the ‘Save Mount Leinster’ submission with your time, expertise or other resources to donate to the campaign, we would really appreciate it so please get in touch.
Carlow Nationalist 23rd March 2021
Coillte have lodged an appeal to An Bord Pleanála (ABP) on 14th April 2021 – please continue to support our campaign. Make your voice heard – you too can make a submission to ABP by 11th May 2021. Details of the Coillte appeal are on their website here: https://www.croaghaunwindfarm.ie/
See the CASE DETAILS on the Appeal in ABP here (screenshot below)
TOWN HALL MEETING – over 80 members of the community joined our meeting on Thurs 22nd at 8pm. With over 130 registered to find out information on how to submit an Observation.
A massive THANK YOU to everyone who made an Observation to An Bord Pleanála – we understand that 132 have been received. BTW Uplift petition was 3,137 on 10th May 2021.
On 8th October 2011 An Bord Pleanála wrote to all who made an observation informing us that ‘the Board will not now be in a position to determine the appeal before that date [8th October]. In view of the delay involved in bringing the case to determination, priority consideration is being given to the case. The delay involved is regretted.’