Sunday 18 March 2018

Mussel power helps Trump win battle with wind farm

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Donald's daughter Ivanka
A view from the 18th green at Doonbeg Golf Course in Co Clare.

Gordon Deegan

Billionaire Donald Trump has won his battle against plans for a giant wind farm near his Doonbeg golf course - thanks to a little-known freshwater pearl mussel.

This follows An Bord Pleanála refusing planning permission to Clare Coastal Wind Power Ltd to erect a nine-turbine wind farm within sight of Mr Trump's Doonbeg Golf Resort on Co Clare's Atlantic coast.

The inspector in the case recommended a refusal to the wind farm - 20ft taller than Dublin's Spire - on a number of grounds, including the impact the wind farm would have on views from the golf resort. However, in the end, the board refused planning permission on only one ground - the impact the wind farm would have on the freshwater pearl mussel.

In its order, the appeals board stated that it was not satisfied that the proposal would not constitute a serious risk of impairment to the aquatic habitat of this sensitive species, which has a lifespan of 120 years, in the Doonbeg river.

Yesterday's decision brings to an end a four-year battle by Doonbeg Golf Club and other local interests to prevent wind-farm development in Doonbeg.

It was a rare piece of good news for Trump - who wants to be the Republican candidate in the next US election - in a week that saw him dumped by two television stations, Macy's drop his clothing line, and Carlos Slim, an even richer Mexican tycoon, end a joint venture with him.

In 2013, An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for a 2011 plan to construct a 45-turbine wind farm at Doonbeg.

The most recently planned 413ft-high wind farm was to be located only 4km from the resort and, in the objection, consultants employed by the Trump golf club claimed that the wind farm "will have a detrimental impact on the viability of the Doonbeg Golf Resort".

Some 42 objections were lodged against the plan.

The board made its ruling following the authority on the mussel here, Dr Evelyn Moorkens, lodging a report warning that the planned wind farm "is an extremely dangerous proposal" to the mussel nearby.

She said that there were an estimated 7,000 pearl mussels in the Doonbeg river and Dr Moorkens has previously described the pearl mussel as "our tiger, our panda".

Irish Independent

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