Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan, has described plans by Offaly County Council to pave the way for the construction of a large wind turbine development at Lemanaghan Bog as “profoundly disappointing and frustrating” for those who campaigned to retain the site’s historical and archaeological value.

The project is being spearheaded by Bord na Móna.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after the chief executive of the county council confirmed that the council would be rejecting opposition to a material alteration of the Offaly County Development Plan 2021-2027, which would allow for consideration of a wind farm development at the Lemanaghan Bog location.

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Carol Nolan TD

“While there is real sadness at this news, I can assure the county council that this is far from the end of the matter,” the TD said.

Lemanaghan Bog wind farm development

There are 17 turbines planned for the site at Lemanaghan Bog.

According to the plans, the proposed turbines will have an overall blade tip height of up to 220m.

According to the project team, Lemanaghan Bog compromises about 1,200ha and approximately 5% of this area will be used for turbine bases, crane hard-standings and access tracks.

A formal planning application is expected to be submitted directly to An Bord Pleanála in autumn 2022 under strategic infrastructure legislation.

It’s understood, the electricity generated by the turbines will be transmitted directly onto Ireland’s National Grid which is managed by EirGrid for distribution around the country.

Offaly County Council

According to the Laois-Offaly TD, the council has said that future planning applications for wind farm developments will still be evaluated on a case by case basis.

This is having regard to wind energy development guidelines, environmental impact, traffic, transport, landscape and visual impact assessments.

Deputy Nolan said: “These are the very things that have, on the face of it, been utterly ignored with respect to Lemanaghan Bog and this specific development. Why should we believe that things will be any different in the future?

“Detailed and extensive objections were made to this proposal based on a clear historical, visual, environmental and archaeological basis.

“It is a genuine shame that the council [has] seen fit to disregard all of this and proceed over the heartfelt and informed objections of thousands of people,” concluded Nolan.

Locals believe that the area should be used to progress eco-tourism and a wind farm development at the bog location could have adverse effects on local areas of sensitivity.