New 14-turbine wind farm proposal near Carnlough ‘at an early stage of design’

A new 14-turbine wind farm has been proposed for a site two miles from Carnlough on the Antrim coast.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 12:42 pm

The project is being developed by Larne-based company Renewable Energy Systems based at Millbrook.

A proposal of application notice has been submitted to the Department of Infrastructure ahead of a planning application expected to be submitted later this year.

This is the same company that is behind a proposal for Ballygilbert Wind Farm outside Ballygally.

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Wind turbines (stock image)

In May, Mid and East Antrim’s Planning Committee heard that 93 objections had been received in response to the 14-turbine Ballygilbert application

A decision will be taken by the Department for Infrastructure’s Strategic Planning Directorate as it is considered to be a “regionally significant application” due to the proposed operating capacity.

RES says the Ballygilbert plan represents £24.2m investment to “support the green economic recovery in Northern Ireland”.

The Carnlough project, Unshinagh Wind Farm, would be located in the townland of Unshinagh Ticloy and Shane.

RES says that the development could be worth £16m to the local economy in the form of employment and would “continue to build on the success of the renewable energy sector in Northern Ireland”.

Commenting on the proposal in a social media post, Coast Road DUP Councillor Andrew Clarke has urged the company involved to produce images of the plans in order to illustrate potential visual impact.

“Some 14 windmills would cover a site of 520 hectares. The plan is still at an early stage with a public consultation (virtual) proposed for Wednesday 15th September.

“The large scale of the development means any proposal will bypass council planning and be decided by the Department of Infrastructure.

“I am always very supportive of bringing jobs and development into our area. At the same time, Carnlough is a simply stunning area, officially designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“This unique landscape is a vital part of our tourism offering, sitting along the Causeway Coastal Route. We cannot have the Glens of Antrim looking like an abandoned voodoo doll, its beauty punctured by the unrestrained proliferation of these structures.

“It is essential that visual images of the plans are produced so we can understand what the scenic impact will be.”

Garth McGimpsey, project manager, RES, commented: “We’re in the early stages of exploring the potential for a wind farm called Unshinagh, located approximately 4km to the west of Carnlough.

“We’ll shortly be coming forward to present our plans to the community, which are at an early stage of design and look forward to receiving their feedback.

“The comments received, together with the environmental and technical surveys that are being undertaken on site, will play an important part in the development of the design over the coming months.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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Click here to read: Approval sought for controversial wind farm project near Cairncastle

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