Minister for Housing & Local Government,
FS007134 Sea Stack Offshore Survey Licence Application
I support this licence application in principle. The documents are written as if this is off Co Dublin. In fact the main visual impact of the completed wind farm is off Co. Wicklow. The impacts and the approach need to be guided by that fact.
Impact on onshore vistas; Greystones 59 degrees Arc of View, Bray 63, Killiney 63, Dun Laoghaire 18, Howth 47. The turbines probable area is closest, 12 km, to Greystones, closer than Howth or any Dublin Area. In addition from Greystones the Arc of View of the Dublin Array proposal is 65 degrees and Codling 48 degrees. In combination this would result in a 113 degree line of turbines off Greystones taking up most of the sea view, the worst visual degradation of any town. See chart below for details.
These turbines are likely to be 310m tall, much higher than the main visual feature of the area, Bray Head, which is 240m high. The Foreshore licence needs to insist on a gap of at least a 15 degree Arc of View Gap, viewed from Greystones, between the wind farms to reduce the visual impact.
Other aspects, indicate a Dublin only approach;
- Accompanying Report; 1.1 states located East of Co Dublin.
- Section 4 lists all Sailing/Yacht Clubs, all in Dublin but not mention Greystones. There are also many other marine leisure users here.
- Documents not in Greystones Garda station only Bray. Both Codling & Dublin Array displayed in Greystones.
- No presentation made to Greystones Municipal District unlike the other 2 proposals.
- Bray Head is an area of Outstanding National Beauty, a Special Area of Conservation, a Special Amenity Area Order and a proposed National Heritage Area. It is not mentioned in the application unlike such areas in Dublin.
The Foreshore Licence for the survey should strongly encourage use of Greystones Harbour by under 30m vessels. Both Codling & Dublin Array kept some survey vessels in Greystones. There is a need to establish a connection and a benefit to the town in terms of business, jobs and trade if we have to have the turbines imposed in a prominent part of the vista.
Arc of View of Wind Farms from Towns in degrees
|Greystones||Bray||Killiney||Dun Laoghaire||Howth||Wicklow Town|
|Dublin Array||65||68||68||18||30||Plus 16|
Relationship to Dublin Array. The visual impact of this is hard to separate from that of Dublin Array in view of it location, it is strange that the State is being asked to issue 2 Foreshore Licences for almost the same location.
Cable Survey routes. The plan is to survey cable routes into Dublin. The benefit of ‘Green power’ should be used to help Wicklow in view of so much of the turbines being off Co.Wicklow. At NewtownmountKennedy, by the 230kv ESB line, there is full planning permission for a data centre which probably has no grid connection offer. A route should be surveyed there for the cable. That site could also be planned to have emergency generating facilities. This would provide an economic benefit to the area in compensation for the visual loss.
General. Windfarms encounter local resistance in very many communities, including loud campaigns against them in Wicklow and other counties. Previous thermal power stations had major local benefits including jobs, trade, substantial rates to provide local services and giving the communities a sense of purpose. This is lacking in offshore wind which will provide few jobs, except where the base is, but will have a large visual effect on a wide area. Communities need to feel connected to it, need to see the benefit locally from the particular wind farm and be persuaded to accept it, even like it. A sense of ownership not imposition is needed.
This is best done through local involvement especially in the early stages through the planning and building phases. I represent Greystones, Kilcoole & Newcastle with about 30,000 population, most of whom will see the turbines. About 1,000 people use boats for leisure. 500 or more swim in the sea regularly and 1,000s walk beside it. About 5 people, including skipper & crew, are commercial fishers. The needs of this very small group should not distort the consultation and benefits to be given to the local population.
The Sea Stack wind farm is near the centre of demand for electricity and thus economical. Consequently they are near to and will be seen by large numbers of people unlike most on shore ones which are remote. The towns of Greystones & Bray have invested much in creating promenades, boardwalks and harbours, it is very much a central part of their offering. This proposal must not damage that.