More than 1,000 letters of objection have been lodged over what is proposed to be the North’s biggest ever wind farm in the Sperrins.
The Ulster Herald understands that a large batch of objection letters were lodged at the end of last week.
Scottish energy conglomerate SSE plan to erect 36 wind turbines in the Doraville region of the Sperrins, near Broughderg.
SSE claim that the £150 million 115MW project between Omagh and Cookstown could have massive benefits for the local and regional economy.
But opposition to the plan, in what is considered an area of outstanding natural beauty, is growing.
Just over 100 letters of objection are currently logged on the Planning Service’s online public system.
However the number is expected to surpass 1,000 after a surge in letters of objection. Some reports put the number at over 1,200 and rising.
SSE have previously claimed that its public consultation for the proposed wind farm showed 53 per-cent of respondents in favour.
Its plan includes 11 126m turbines and 25 measuring 140m. Associated works include transformers and switchgear at the base of each wind turbine, hardstanding areas for erection cranes at each turbine, internal access tracks and site access, operations building and wind farm substation compound and building, on site electrical cables, a parking area,
two temporary construction compounds.
Kerry McCrory, who lives close to where SSE are proposing to erect the 36 turbines, is one of the locals who have voiced strong opposition to the plan.
Speaking this week, Ms McCrory, who lives in Coneyglen, said she has collected in the region of 700 letters of objection in recent days.
A passionate environmentalist, she has expressed fears over the potential impact on wildlife and landscape.
“I fiercely object to the proposal to erect one of Irelands largest wind farms in the Glen beside my home,” she said.
“This area is an environmentally sensitive area and an area of outstanding natural beauty with almost 50 years of protection and designation.”
The resident said the major works on the landscape could damage the natural blanket bog in the region, which she termed a “natural Co2 Carbon holding structure”.
“Only a truly ignorant body could ignore what took millions of years of evolution to build, to ruin in a few short months for all the generations to come,” she said.
The local community have also spoken about the potential impact on local tourism. The Doraville site lies near the iconic Beaghmore stone circles and Davagh Forest Trails, which attracts 40,000 people a year to the area.
The Broughderg Community Association are also in the process of securing ‘dark sky’ status for the area, which would make it one of Europe’s prime destinations for star gazing.
In response to the concerns, a spokesperson for SSE said, “We’re pleased that members of the public are submitting their views to the Department for the Environment as part of its consultation process on Doraville wind farm.
“These views along with responses from statutory consultees and other interested groups will be considered by the Department, as part of the normal planning process.
“We’re also pleased that so many members of the public have already submitted their views through our community consultation, the findings of which led to amendments to the proposal, including reducing the number of planned turbines from 42 to 36 and a revised turbine layout that avoids impacting on the most sensitive views in the local area.”
Two wind farms under construction near Carrickmore have been acquired by a major Chinese energy corporation.