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04/01/2010

Co Antrim Wind Turbine Stalled

The NI Planning Service has still made no decision on an application by a Co Antrim manufacturer to construct a massive wind turbine at its Roughfort Road headquarters.

People living near Mallusk plastics company Brett Martin have objected to the firm's plan, raising concerns about the sheer scale of the proposal.

Back in October 2007, local residents were outraged when the company submitted a plan to erect a 125 metre turbine - one of the largest anywhere in Ireland. However, a revised plan submitted earlier this year for a 99.5 metre turbine has met with a similar reaction.

A number of Roughfort Road and Fort Road residents wrote to Planning Service earlier this month objecting to the latest application on several grounds, including visual intrusion, noise and the potential devaluing of neighbouring properties.

The Chairman of Newtownabbey Council's Planning Committee, Alderman Nigel Hamilton, said that local residents are "naturally concerned" about the company's plan.
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"Residents are worried that the impact of such a turbine will not just be on their visual amenity, but they have also expressed concern at the health and noise-related issues which could accompany something this size.

"While I fully understand the importance of such a development to the economy of Brett Martin, I believe it would be helpful for the company to meet with residents and reassure them of any concerns they have," he said.

Brett Martin - manufacturers of a range of plastic sheeting products for the construction industry - employs around 400 people at the Roughfort Road facility.

"The proposed wind turbine would enable us to minimise our impact on the environment and to significantly reduce our high energy costs. This would help us to remain a competitive business and to safeguard - and hopefully grow - jobs locally.

"We have carried out a full environmental impact assessment with assistance from specialists in wind technology and have consulted with all relevant statutory bodies. We are also engaging with relevant local political representatives," a company spokesperson said.

Planning Service confirmed at the end of December that no decision had been taken regarding the turbine proposal.

(BMcc/GK)

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