Lecale Councillor Cadogan Enright welcomed the lifting of an effective ban by planners at Rathkelter House on local farmers trying to benefit from UK renewable energy policy.

Cadogan was attending the erection of the new turbine on Montgomery’s farm on the Lecale coast with Veteran Environmentalist and Farming Expert Bill Corry. Bill said “It is better for the money to be in the pockets of local farmers than in the pocket of Colonel Kaddafi or Vladimir Putin. There is no future in imported fossil fuels, and farmers need new sources of income.”

Paddy Flynn of ‘Green Energy 4 U’, a Castlewellan renewable energy company said “for the last couple of years until very recently there has been an effective ban on local farmers in the Lecale and Mournes benefiting from cashing into the UK governments switch from imported fuels to local green energy. The industry in South Down is grateful to Cllr Cadogan Enright in organizing meetings between industry representatives and the policy-makers in Rathkelter Planning Office in Downpatrick.”

“If every local planning office took the attitude that the UK’s policy switch to renewable energy was correct, but not correct for their own area, there would be no renewable energy anywhere in NI and we are lagging well behind the norm in Europe and the Republic.” Said Paddy Flynn.

Councillor Cadogan Enright said, “Many local farmers are trying to do their bit by the environment, as well as reduce their long term costs and remain competitive. The Carson family’s wind turbine at nearby Tyrella is used to heat pig-pens. They had to struggle against all sorts of horrendous obstacles to get connected with a turbine that worked. We have to make the switch to renewable energy easier for Farmers with appropriate sites”.

Cllr Enright Welcomed the change in policy by planners, “The change in attitudes in the local planning service is very welcome. Last year there was a policy in place preventing the development of renewable energy from Sliabh Croob right across the Mournes area and back to Lecale. This was in the face of the National Parks report recommending in favour of a permissive regime for local farmers and businessmen for wind-turbines. This policy also ignored that planning policy PPS18 was equally in favour and overall UK targets. Large numbers of planning refusals were being based on “visual amenity”. Local stone quarrying and other businesses were unable to get affordable energy for their work and were being blocked from accessing wind turbines.”

“This was stopping the creation of jobs, threatening existing jobs and blocking new income sources for farmers, businesspeople and householders as well as doing nothing for Global Warming. We now have a new range of opportunities opening up here in Lecale, N.I. spends £1Billion per year on fossil fuel imports, and this money needs to switch to our home market and to our area,” concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright.