A pressure group in Ballyroan, Co. Laois has raised €40,000 in a single week to fund a High Court challenge against a proposed Coillte wind farm on the local mountain Cullenagh.

According to the group, the proposal is a gateway project which may lead to multiple damaging wind developments in Co. Laois.

Local group ‘People Over Wind’ says over 20 families committed €1,000 each – such is the level of concern and anger in the area, it says.

Coillte’s application for a wind farm in Cullenagh, Co. Laois was initially turned down by Laois Co. Council and an Bord Planeala’s  inspector also recommended the application be refused.

However, an Bord Planeala over-ruled its inspector and granted Coillte planning permission for 18 150-metre turbines. The ‘People Over Wind’ group is taking its appeal to the High Court.

According to the group, wind energy produces minuscule CO2 savings because of its intermittent nature and the resultant need for permanent back up power. “Despite this glaring fact, Government policy still promotes the building of wind turbines which are subsidy driven and paid for by everybody through more expensive electricity bills.”

The Ratheniska substation, which has facility for 16 power lines and Cullenagh wind farm, represents the opening of the flood gates for Laois which could become a pin cushion of harmful infrastructure over the next 10 years, the group says.

It is now appealing for more contributions, to meet its target of €50,000 which is the amount needed to challenge the decision.