Thursday 18 April 2019

Plans for country's biggest windfarm halted

Planners have refused permission for the country’s biggest wind farm
Planners have refused permission for the country’s biggest wind farm

Greg Harkin

Campaigners have welcomed a decision by planners to refuse permission for the country's biggest wind farm.

Cork-based Planree Ltd had proposed spending €200m erecting 49 turbines on a route from the Bluestack Mountains to Castlefin in Co Donegal.

However, An Bord Pleanála (ABP) spent a year and €115,000 in costs examining the proposal for the turbines, some 150 metres high. The board voted four to one against the plans.

ABP said the wind farm was in close proximity to especially high scenic areas and a number of protected areas.

It criticised Planree's environmental impact statement saying it was "inadequate" and had failed to assess the potential impact on a number of bird species, including whooper swans and Greenland white-fronted geese.

ABP said it was not satisfied the proposals "would not have a significant adverse effect on the ecological environment" and "would not adversely affect the integrity of certain European sites in view of those sites' conservation objectives".

Finn Valley Wind Action Group welcome the decision as "a victory for common sense".

Spokeswoman Marie Scanlon said the wind farm would have covered 40 square kilometres.

"Among the experts involved in preparing our group's response were internationally renowned experts in the field of acoustics, hydrogeology, ornithology and landscape assessment," she said.

"Donegal County Council has deemed that 95pc of our county is suitable for wind farm development and this decision shows once again that this policy needs to be changed.

"We will oppose any attempt to re-submit the application in any other guise," Ms Scanlon added.

Irish Independent

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