Campaigners opposed to the creation of a major wind farm near Glenarm have branded the proposal “an atrocious attack” on the landscape.
As previously reported in the Larne Times, developer ABO Wind wants to erect nine turbines - each with a proposed blade tip height of 120.5 metres (395 feet) - near Feystown, at a total cost of £38.5m.
But the project is inside the designated Glens of Antrim Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which is subject to stringent greenbelt planning regulations.
The move has caused a deep rift within the local community, with over 120 objections to the plans and 96 letters of support.
And a number of residents who live in close proximity to the proposed development site have joined forced to voice their opposition.
‘Say No To Wind Farms in the Glens’ has gathered hundreds of petition signatures, with campaigners claiming the development will have a significant adverse visual impact on the local landscape.
A spokesperson for the group said the erection of the turbines would be “an atrocious attack” on a designated AONB.
“Whilst I realise the need for renewable energy, it is also our duty to protect the natural landscape and our heritage sites for future generations to appreciate and enjoy,” she added.
The spokesperson also challenged a number of points ABO Wind raised during its recent presentation to Larne Borough Council.
In particular, she took umbrage with the assertion that local people would benefit from a £2.5m community fund set up as part of the project.
The spokeswoman claimed: “ABO Wind has applied for three wind farms in Northern Ireland, only one of which is within the Larne Borough, with the establishment of a £2.5m community fund. But it is likely to be all three sites combined equating £2.5m.”
Meanwhile, another local resident told the Times she was concerned about the impact the turbines would have on those who live in close proximity to the development.
She said: “As well as the visual and noise impact, I am worried about the potential health issues these turbines could have on residents.
“Studies have shown that wind turbines can lead to sleep deprivation and depression.
“Some people may find wind farms beautiful to look at, but they don’t have to live with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”