‘We cannot have the Glens of Antrim looking like an abandoned voodoo doll’ - Cllr Andrew Clarke
Updated: Aug 14, 2021
A proposal by Larne-based RES Group for a wind farm two-and-a-half miles west of Carnlough has been met with opposition from DUP Coast Road Councillor, Andrew Clarke.
It is understood that the planned 520 hectare renewable energy site would see 14 windmills erected in the the townlands of Upshinagh, Ticloy and Slane in the Antrim Hills, and would be expected to generate around 58.8 megawatts of power per year.
Due to the scale of the development, any proposal will bypass the Planning Committee of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, and be decided by the Department of Infrastructure.
Councillor Andrew Clarke commented:
“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.”
According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Antrim Coast and Glens was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1988.
The Department’s website states: ‘The coastline of County Antrim from Ballycastle to Larne and the world famous Glens of Antrim contain some of the most beautiful and varied scenery in Northern Ireland. The area is dominated by a high undulating plateau cut by deep glens which open north and eastwards to the sea. It is an area of contrasts: gentle bays are separated by blunt headlands; exposed moorland gives way to sheltered valleys; wide open expanses to enclosed farmland.’
In Northern Ireland, RES has developed and/or constructed twenty-two onshore wind farms equating to over a quarter of Northern Ireland’s onshore wind capacity and says that the company has a record of using local companies to develop, construct and operate renewable energy projects.
Garth McGimpsey, Project Manager at RES, told Love Ballymena:
“We’re in the early stages of exploring the potential for a fourteen turbine 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.
“The proposed wind farm, if consented, would continue to build on the success of the renewable energy sector in Northern Ireland. It would provide a vital economic boost, creating skilled, sustainable jobs and help to drive a cleaner and more resilient economy.”
The plan is still at an early stage, with a virtual public consultation proposed for Wednesday 15 September. As part of the consultation RES stated that it intends to deliver information leaflets to all homes within 2km, including the village of Carnlough, and community groups within 5km of the site, and will provide opportunities for public feedback.