Game of Thrones in wind turbines row
Anger is growing over plans to build "ghastly" wind turbines in stunning countryside where Game of Thrones was filmed.
A planning application has been submitted for a turbine close to the Castle Ward estate in Co Down.
The scenic vista has provided one of the backdrops for the HBO-commissioned swords-and-sorcery TV series.
It is proposed that one turbine be sited close to the Castleward Road on the outskirts of Stangford. A second turbine is planned for half-a-mile away.
The paperwork has been submitted by Holywood-based Strategic Planning, but it has caused alarm among residents who fear it will impact on their quality of life.
The area is also increasingly popular with tourists after it was one of the settings for the first series of Game of Thrones.
Local resident Robbie Hughes said it would hinder attempts to cash in on the hit series.
"There is a huge spin-off from Game of Thrones and to gamble with a commercial thing like the visual amenity of the area is not, in our opinion, a very sensible thing to do," he said.
Castle Ward, an 18th century mansion overlooking the tranquil waters of Strangford Lough, draws tourists every summer.
The surrounding countryside is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Residents warn that both attractions could be spoiled if a turbine is erected nearby.
There are also fears it could drive wildlife such as badgers and bats out of their habitats.
Mr Hughes added: "There is a lot of opposition to this. The main feature of this area is the hugely important visual aspect.
"It is an area of outstanding natural beauty, it's quite close to an area of special scientific interest and is right at the gateway to the Lecale coastal drive."
A petition has been organised in opposition to the turbine.
The campaign has also been taken on by Strangford MLA David McNarry, who said the plans were "ghastly".
"The idea of a monster wind turbine blighting the beautiful countryside is totally unacceptable. It just doesn't fit - it destroys the environmental ambience of the local tranquillity.
"Of course these people are worried about the effect a turbine - an industrial machine - set smack bang in the middle of a field and perched high on a hill will have on their lifestyle and the value of their homes."
"Renewable energy projects bring major benefits for the rural economy, giving farmers vital opportunities for diversification. The siting of a single wind turbine follows very stringent guidelines set by the DoE. [It includes] appraisal of the site to ensure the least possible visual impact on the wider area, all of which will considered by the local planning authority."
- Strategic Planning