Castlerock beauty spot wind farm blasted

Wind turbine
Wind turbine

The National Trust and Northern Ireland Tourist Board are the latest bodies to hit out at proposals for a wind farm on the outskirts of Castlerock.

The two influential bodies are in a series of groups, individuals and businesses to oppose the planned wind farm in the heart of the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The proposed turbines would be 125 metres tall, a third the height of Benevenagh Mountain, which is 385 metres high, and would be visible from miles around.

Those opposed to the plans point to the negative impact on tourism of a “panoramic view of industrial size turbines”.

The National Trust, which owns and manages a number of historic properties in the area, including Downhill Palace Demesne, Mussenden Temple and Hezlett’s House near Castlerock, has objected strongly to the proposal.

Its objection to planners highlights the “unspoilt, expansive sea views” from Binevenagh and states: “Once this proposal for 21 turbines and any future permissions are operational, coupled with existing turbines, their individual appearance will merge and the result will be a panoramic view of industrial size turbines, which in terms of the protection of this distinctive rural landscape quality is unacceptable.”

The National Trust also said there would be a “detrimental impact” on Binevenagh’s sensitive landscape, biodiversity, nature conservation, the quality of life of local communities and tourism.

In its response to planners, the Tourist Board also highlighted “the particularly scenic location of the site of the proposed wind farm and the proximity of a number of Northern Ireland’s most iconic visitor attractions”, including the Mussenden Temple and Causeway Coastal Route.

A spokesman for developer Windyfields said: “We appreciate that some people take issue with renewable and clean energy projects but we must not lose sight of the bigger picture. Northern Ireland seriously needs a stable, clean and sustainable means of energy generation.”

He added: “We believe the Windy Hill project will bring substantial benefits to the area.

“This is a multi-million pound development that will bring much-needed investment along with significant employment opportunities and environmental benefits.”