Last-ditch efforts to keep huge wind turbines from being declared as “acceptable in principle” in parts of Kilkenny City’s rural hinterland as well as surrounding countryside failed.
Despite strong resistance to the wind energy strategy contained within it, a new county development strategy that will regulate development choices across the county during the next six years was approved by the bulk of elected representatives at a special meeting of Kilkenny County Council.
In the previous plan, areas of Johnswell and Castlewarren as close as five kilometers east of the city were marked as “open for consideration” for wind turbines, making them much less appealing to potential developers.
In recent weeks, local people have been concerned about the matter, with many stating they were ignorant of the proposed proposal before it came to public consultation. As a result, it was too late for them to submit formal submissions. Councilors asked council officials at Friday’s meeting if changes to the planned county development plan might be made to address the issues of the Johnswell and Castlewarren communities.
They were advised that the procedure had progressed past the point where changes could be considered and that doing so would be a violation of procedural responsibility. Councilors were also informed that if they decided to disapprove the county development strategy in its entirety, the draft strategy plus any previously approved revisions would become the plan and be submitted nonetheless due to submission deadlines.
The voting was done before the primary vote on the finer parts of the Chief Executive’s recommended recommendations, which dictated many of the finer elements of the plan, would have been invalidated if the plan had been rejected in its totality on the day.
Before the main vote, planners of Kilkenny County Council informed elected members that they would be able to examine some components of the county development plan, such as the wind energy strategy if it were adopted. As a result, a series of legal and procedural snags influenced the final vote, putting the destiny of the overall county development strategy on the line.
With all of this in mind, Councilor Denis Hynes posted an open query to council officials: “So, despite all of the resistance here to the concept of wind turbines being built in Johnswell and Castlewarren, we have no tools to block it?” “There’s no magic bullet which we can put into this plan to make sure this never happens,” senior planner Denis Malone said to Hynes.