Sinn Féin county councillor Gerry Murray has expressed serious concerns about a number of proposals by various companies to build wind farms in high amenity areas of Mayo. Cllr Murray said the size and the scale of some of these proposals would seriously threaten the natural amenity of Mayo and would have serious consequences for tourism in the county in general. One such proposal in North Mayo is for 450 wind turbines with 90 acres required for each turbine.
In a statement Cllr Murray said: “When the renewable energy strategy was adopted for the county, reassurances were given that the proposed wind farms would be of a size and scale that would not compromise or injure the natural amenity of Mayo, but recent proposals by a number of developers would effectively transform parts of the county into huge industrial wind farms with serious consequences for the future sustainability of tourism in the county. The visual impact of these proposals on areas of high amenity cannot be underestimated.”
The councillor added: “While I fully appreciate the need for sustainable and renewable energy projects, they should not be allowed to compromise the viability and sustainability of parts of the county that are dependent on jobs and revenue from tourism. Another serious issue for concern is that Mayo County Council, as the planning authority, is not allowed to adjudicate on any of these proposals, and no individual or community has the right of appeal. The fact that people and communities are denied proper due process only confirms that no lessons have been learned in the wake of the Corrib Gas dispute.”
Cllr Murray said that at the September meeting of Mayo County Council he will be proposing that the authority immediately embarks on a major review of the energy strategy for Mayo, adding: “I would encourage the tourism sector to brief themselves in terms of the very serious implications these proposals will have on the county as a tourism destination.”