SSE claim huge wind farm 'investment in economy and community'
ENERGY firm SSE claims its plans for a massive wind farm in Co Tyrone will be "an investment in the economy and community".
It is planning a £150 million investment at Doraville near Draperstown and yesterday submitted an environmental statement and the results of a community consultation to the Department of Environment.
But the proposals have been unpopular among some people living locally to the affected area.
A group opposed to the plans for 36 turbines branded them "complete and utter madness".
The 115 megawatts Doraville wind farm represents the largest single capital investment SSE has committed to making so far in the north.
SSE projects that £50m of the investment will be be secured by Northern Ireland businesses, with £15.6m going to those local to the development.
It said the wind farm - which will provide enough power for the equivalent of 85,000 homes - will generate £28.8m in rates payments through its 25-year lifetime and pledged £15m in community fund awards.
An environmental statement by BiGGAR Economics said the development could contribute £105.8m over its operational lifetime through year-on-year economic spend to the north's economy.
Its director of renewables Paul Cooley said benefits of the project "range from helping the environment and delivering jobs and economic investment to bringing new benefit opportunities to".
"As we move forward with our proposals we will work with the local community to help realise the full potential benefits of this development for local households and organisations, and in doing so making a difference with communities for generations to come," he added.
SSE said its community consultation found 53 per cent of respondents to be in favour of the wind farm.
However, members of West Tyrone Against Turbines have been vocal in their criticism of the plans, taking their case to the environment committee at Stormont.
Group spokesman Owen McMullan claimed possible health risks posed by low frequency noise and channel flicker had not been properly investigated.
Mr McMullan likened the proposal to a vicious "rape of the countryside" in an area which has been featured in National Geographic's top 101 scenic drives in the world.