Public consultations to inform local communities in Ballycastle and on Rathlin Island about a proposed 100MW tidal energy scheme off the North Antrim coast attracted more than 100 visitors over the two days according to the organisers.
Representatives from Fair Head Tidal say they were delighted by the turn out. The renewable energy scheme proposed by development companies DP Energy and Bluepower NV would provide enough electricity for more than 70,000 homes.
Fair ”Head Tidal project manager Clodagh McGrath says she and her team noticed that most people visiting the consultation exhibition in the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle, and the Richard Branson Centre on Rathlin, were well informed.
“We were very pleased that so many people engaged enthusiastically and were positive about our proposals,” says Ms McGrath. “We understand that there will always be sensitivities surrounding any new developments. We were here to explain the extensive survey work we have been doing, display images to show how the project might look, and how we will seek to minimise any impacts on the local environment and the communities that live and work there.”
“Engagement with local communities is a very important part of our development activities, and we welcomed the level of feedback we received over the two days, which will help in finalising our plans”, she says.
Fair Head Tidal intends to submit a planning application for the offshore component of the project, covering a development area of some 3.3 square kilometres and about one kilometre north east of Fair Head, later this summer. Before the end of the year, the Fair Head Tidal team will be back in Ballycastle to share details on the second component of the project. This will cover the proposed onshore works in the vicinity of Murlough Bay in order to connect the tidal project into the Northern Ireland electricity network.
“We are very respectful of the views of local communities,” says Ms McGrath, “and we look forward to returning to the area in the coming months to share our proposals for the onshore works and again very much welcome feedback.