‘We are not a nimby group’ say Kellsvocal

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The group leading opposition to a major solar farm proposal outside Kells say they are not merely a ‘nimby’ lobby group.

‘Nimby’ - or ‘not in my backyard’ - is a label normally applied to those who are simply protesting against something because it affects them directly. The somewhat disparaging term also suggests that the same people would be umoved if the development they are protesting against was happening elsewhere.

KellsVOCAL represents over 60 residences that will be affected by the proposal.

“We are an active community who have come together to fight against the industrialisation of our landscape. The land for this solar power station has not been specially selected because it can visually absorb this enormous facility. It has been targeted purely because of its proximity to the Kells Substation. A cheap connection to the grid makes this site a gold mine for Elgin Energy,’ says Chairman, Ed Crawford.

Vice Chair of KellsVOCAL, prominent architect and rural planning consultant Jane Burnside added: “KellsVOCAL is not against solar power, or renewable energy, but it should be integrated into NI in a planned and sympathetic way. In England and Wales the planning system requires solar developers to go for brown field sites such as disused airfields, then land adjacent to industrial zones. The last resort is open farmland but never in a highly populated rural area like Kells.

“KellsVOCAL was formed to fight against the industrialisation of our landscape, not just in our back yard, but everyone’s back yards. Six solar farms have been approved within the last 12 months and a hundred more are in the pipeline. Everyone should be worried because these solar farms are coming to a field near you.”

Ed Crawford added: “Elgin Energy talk about this facility bringing precisely 569 jobs ‘both directly and indirectly’. The indirect jobs are the panels which are made in China - no jobs there for people in Ballymena. Likewise the cabling. Then there is just a four month construction period involving fencing and metal rails to support the panels - hardly 569 jobs there either for people in Ballymena.”

Pamela Dennison, Secretary said: “We’ve gained the support of many local MLA’s and Councillors who continue to press the Minister for policy to protect the landscape.

“Please sign the petition on our website www.kellsvocal.com”