Archive for the 'Ballynahinch/Spa' Category Page 2 of 4



LOCAL FARMERS PREPARE FOR VISIT TO MINISTER ATTWOOD

Meeting in Denvirs Hotel to found 'Down District Farmers For Renewable Energy"

Meeting in Denvirs Hotel to found 'Down District Farmers For Renewable Energy"

A large number of local farmers gathered for a meeting last Tuesday in Denvirs Hotel for the inaugural meeting of a new farmer’s organization.  Elliot Bell of the UFU and Cllr Cadogan Enright were invited guests to provide technical advice. ‘Down District Farmers for Renewable Energy’ was formed following several years of campaigning to be allowed to diversify their businesses into renewable energy in the face of considerable difficulties with the planning service and the electricity grid since 2007 and before.

The main business was the upcoming visit to Minster Attwood, facilitated by local MP Margaret Ritche.

Chairperson James Carson of Tyrella expressed gratitude for the ongoing support of Ms Ritchie to some of the farmers at the meeting, and for the historical opposition of herself and Eddy McGrady to nuclear power at Sellafield. Other local politicians from Sinn Fein and the UUP had also been supportive.

The meeting discussed problems encountered with many local renewable energy projects, and resolved to inform the Minister that the local planning office was “not fit for purpose”.

PRO Nial Montgomery from Killough pointed out that even where the planning guidelines indicated that a particular site was ideal for wind energy, poor management of the planning process turned a 3 month application into a 3+ year application for local farmers.

Pat Magee of Ballyhornan said “The government is now proposing to spend billions of pounds creating a massive wind development offshore from our farms at huge expense to the taxpayer. None of the revenues from the offshore development will stay in the local area. On-shore wind energy is not only much cheaper, but all revenues arising from on-farm turbines stay in the local area, helping to diversify local farming and keeping family farms intact for the future.”

Cllr Cadogan Enright led a workshop to assemble the issues in a manner suitable for presentation to the Minister. Cllr Enright observed that “Down District farmers are selling to big UK supermarkets. They have to demonstrate how their carbon footprint satisfies British climate change legislation in order to keep their existing markets for meat, milk and cereals. Not being able to generate green power damages employment.”

“The agri-food business in NI is the biggest employer in the province, and across Ireland as a whole. We have to be allowed to reduce our costs in line with our competitors, not just for on-farm employment, but for the many more jobs that exist downstream from the farm” concluded Nial Montgomery

Challenging Projected Coverage for RTE and TG4 in April 2012 – 6 months before digital switch-over

Following Digital UK writing to Down District Council last year us last year on the schedule for switch-over, I wrote back to them to them seeking reassurance that widespread concern around Down District that RTE1, RTE2 and TG4 would be available from day one as had previously been announced and as agreed under the Good Friday and Saint Andrews Agreement.

It was clear from the on-line maps they were supplying at the time that large areas of Down District including Downpatrick, Newcastle and Ballynahinch would be left out, I had been seeking improvements to this scenario. Map of Best Case Scenario April 2012 for RTE / TG4 coverage

Very large numbers of people in this district rely on these stations for sports coverage, Irish Language broadcasting and news across the Island of Ireland.

Denis Wolinski, Digital UK’s National Manager in Northern Ireland, wrote to me last October  saying “Beidh RTE agus TG4 ar fáil ar an gcóras nua.  Beidh a thuilleadh eolais faoi seo á fhógairt amach anseo.” (RTE and TG4 will be available on the new system, more information will be announced on this.)

However  significant gaps in coverage emerged (see link above to  map) during the digital switch-over which I  continued to query in a lengthy correspondence with Digital UK

Worryingly, digitaluk’s team here in N.I. have confirmed that only one of the two transmitters in the Belfast area will be carrying the Irish as well as the UK stations. Blackmountain will have both, but the Divis transmitter will only have UK services – most TV’s in Down District receive their signal from the Divis Transmitter.

I have challenged this arrangement both directly myself, and have had Down Council express concerns on behalf of all citizens in the District.

Digital have written to me saying “Our advice to consumers is based on information made available to us from the broadcasters. This indicates that the new Freeview service supplemented by Saorview signals from the Republic will make TG4, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two available to approximately 93 per cent of households in Northern Ireland. Our campaign reminds viewers that Freeview HD equipment will be needed to receive these channels via Freeview.”

 

I am campaigning to make sure we do not end up as part of the 7% who do not get the service.

Click here to see some of the correspondence to both Digital UK and to Saorview in the Republic

 

yes to anti social patrols

yes to anti social patrols

Bicycles can now be recycled

Bicycles can now be recycled

Councillor highlights RTE signal danger

Councillor highlights RTE signal danger

Re-‘cycling’ Breakthrough in Down Council

Councilor Cadogan Enright proposed a motion to allow bicycles being dumped at Downs civic amenity centers to be refurbished and sold on for charity. Cllr Enright put the motion at Wednesday night’s environment meeting at the request of committee chair, Castlewellan Cllr Eamonn O’Neill.

 

Cadogan Enright  said “Following proposals by myself last year, Council Management have agreed to include an area in Downs new larger civic amenity site to be used to allow people to leave out perfectly reusable goods for others to take away for free as is done in the USA and Australia. Anybody visiting our local civic amenity centers will see dozens of perfectly good bicycles in the skips, furniture, doors and many other reusable items like furniture. As rules currently stand, ratepayers are not allowed to re-use what is in the skips. This makes no sense”.

“My motion on Wednesday night will allow the council to bring forward this date at least for bicycles, and we can move on the other large recyclables when the new civic amenity center comes on-stream.”

Cllr Cadogan Enright with Tom McRoberts manager of the Restore Centre and Killikeagh Environmentalist Barbara HaigCllr Enright continued “There are other options available. For instance Banbridge District Council opened a ‘restore Centre’ on the Scarva Road in Banbridge in summer 2009. Since opening thousands of  items have been purchased including sofa’s, tables, chairs, dressers, washing machines, tumble driers and cookers to name just a selection of items for sale. ‘Restore’ has helped Banbridge get across the principals of full sustainability and created a more positive outlook on reusing second hand goods with the financial benefit this has for the whole of society in these economic tough times.”

 

Apprentices being trained in electrical and plumbing trades

Apprentices being trained in electrical and plumbing trades

Cadogan Enright pointed out that “During a recent visit to the ‘restore’ project I was able to see how young apprentice joiners, electricians and others have been taken hired and are undergoing training from skilled tradesmen to divert perfectly good consumer goods from landfill to resale as tested, top-quality, low-price goods. In the first year it was estimated that the project reduced the Councils ‘carbon-footprint’ by 60 tonnes.“

 

 

 

Apprentices being trained in joinery

“I am pleased with moving the bicycle part of this project  forward to this year, but look forward to a more substantial project next year to a more substantial project next year and see is no reason why the council could not operate a Banbridge-style scheme with local NGO’s or charitable groups gleaning the benefit.” concluded Cadogan Enright.

NEWSCLIPPINGS

 Bicycles can be recycled

Council seeks recycling centre

DOWN FARMERS AFFECTED BY MECURIAL PLANNING DECISIONS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY

Attached is a photograph of Cllr Cadogan Enright (right), Ulster Farmers Union representative Elliot Bell and Paddy Flynn with some of the many local farmers attending the meeting on Wednesday 6th June 2012 in Down District Council

Attached is a photograph of Cllr Cadogan Enright (right), Ulster Farmers Union representative Elliot Bell and Paddy Flynn with some of the many local farmers attending the meeting on Wednesday 6th June 2012 in Down District Council

Councilor Cadogan Enright organized a meeting of farmers from the Down area with the Ulster Farmers Union following a series of planning decisions which he has described as ‘mercurial’.

Cllr Enright said, “Local farmers described situations in the hilly country around Drumsnade where a large wind-farm developer has been approved in principle for 5 wind turbines of 2.5 mega-watts each. But when the large developer withdrew, local farmers had problems getting permission for even 3 turbines less than one tenth that size. Individual applications by farmers are delayed locally for many years, whereas major developments are identified as ‘strategic’ and sail though the planning process at the highest levels.”

“This unequal treatment is unjust and creates a situation where the profits of renewable energy in Northern Ireland will be exported by big money interests, rather than kept in the hands of local people”, continued Cllr Enright.

Farmer and wind energy expert Paddy Flynn of Castlewellan said, “Planning policy seems to be interpreted one way in County Down, and another way across N.I.. This does not help people like myself working to advance renewable energy in the rural economy”.

Ulster Farmers Union representative Elliot Bell was extensively briefed at the meeting on 10 different planning issues, with farmers present to back up their complaints with detailed examples. Elliot confirmed that UFU would be seeking to speak with senior planners about the interpretation of policy in Down.

“One of the biggest issues is that planners are reluctant to meet with farmers planning renewable energy installations in N.I. prior to planning being submitted. This creates a lose-lose situation where expensive planning applications have to be speculatively submitted to get attention of planners. In Scotland or England and Wales it is possible to get an on-site planning application quite rapidly prior to any application being made to ensure compliance with local policies. This avoids time and money being wasted. Planners in Rathkelter House had promised to resolve this situation as far back as May 2010, but have failed to do so”, Concluded Cllr Enright

DOWN IN DANGER OF LOSING RTE and TG4 COVERAGE

Cllr Cadogan Enright at Down District Council

Cllr Cadogan Enright at Down District Council

The issue of Digital TV coverage cropped up again at Monday Night’s Down Council Meeting, as the latest reply from digitaluk on TV coverage in the Down area was discussed in Council. Cllr Cadogan Enright pointed out that digitaluk management seemed to be ignoring the fears of the council that neither the Saorview signal in Louth nor the Divis transmitter in Belfast was currently set up to cover Down District.

In response to queries from local sporting organizations, Councilor Cadogan Enright has been campaigning to ensure that when Freeview digital TV is launched next October that residents in Down District will continue to receive RTE and TG4 as well as UK television services.

Cllr Enright said, “I received written reassurances last year from the ‘digitaluk’ team at Havelock House in Belfast, but have recently been given new cause for concern when the management of digitaluk came to make a presentation to Down Council.”

“The digitaluk management team invited Down Councilors to examine www.saorview.ie to see what our likely signal would be from the Republic, myself and other councilors did so and we discovered that the Downpatrick, Newcastle and Ballynahinch areas will not be covered”. continued Cllr Enright.

“Worryingly, digitaluk’s team here in N.I. have confirmed that only one of the two transmitters in the Belfast area will be carrying the Irish as well as the UK stations. Blackmountain will have both, but the Divis transmitter will only have UK services – most TV’s in Down District receive their signal from the Divis Transmitter”.

Cllr Cadogan Enright said “A large number of people in Down District follow sports, News and even the soaps in Irish TV channels, and are annoyed that their coverage could be threatened in this way. Especially as the availability of Irish TV channels was expressly written into the Good Friday Agreement.”

“Over the last 10 years we have had several joint press releases from Direct Rule Ministers and their Southern counterparts promising that this would be dealt with, but we find ourselves in Down District Council having to write to both digitaluk and Saorview with only 5 months left before the switchover. I will be meeting with local MLA’s to address this issue and will continue to chase this up personally and though Down Council.” Concluded Cllr Enright

News article

use cash not rates

use cash not rates by CadoganEnright
use cash not rates, a photo by CadoganEnright on Flickr.

Victory in reducing Rates flows from Renewable Energy

ENRIGHT CALLS FOR DUNMORE OBSTRUCTION TO BE REMOVED

ENRIGHT CALLS  FOR DUNMORE OBSTRUCTION TO BE REMOVED

Pat Ward left, with Cllr Cadogan Enright right

Councilor Cadogan Enright and local community activist Pat Ward have welcomed progress in their complaints to the enforcement department of the planning service at the Dunmore Road and Magherahamlet Road crossroads. They called for the remaining wall to be removed to avoid any further accidents, following a serious crash in the past week.

Cllr Enright explained, “We had previously campaigned with planning enforcement to have a derelict building on the site which had been causing traffic problems to be removed, but it seems that while the rest of the house was demolished, a significant section of wall remains and this continues to block the sightlines of road users approaching the crossroads from the Spa direction.

Pat Ward said “It took over 18 months of pressure from the Green Party for the original ruin to be demolished, and it had been there for 10 years. We hope it wont take the same amount of time to have the wall demolished as it is a serious hazard.

“The remaining bit of wall caused disruption to the recent successful sheep dog trials as it was unsafe for large numbers of vehicles to be emerging from the crossroads and it was only due to the utmost vigilance from the organisers and road users that accidents were avoided. However, in the past few days there has been a serious accident between two lorries and this highlights the need for action to be taken straight away.”

Cllr Enright concluded “I will be pursuing this matter with the Planning Service and with Roads Service to ensure it is taken care of with urgency. In the mean time I ask road users to continue to use caution at the crossroads.”

 

Another crash at Dangerous Junction on Dunmore Road

 

6 years of campaigning to make this corner safe