Monday 30 June 2014 at 12 noon will see Donegal County Council convene a special council meeting to consider the proposals to amend Chapter 7 of the County Donegal Development Plan, Section 7.2, ‘Energy’, as included in Draft Variation (No. 2) to County Donegal Development Plan 2012-2018 (as varied). The meeting and vote will take place in the council chamber at County House, Lifford.
The meeting will take place following a workshop for councillors on the issue which is scheduled to begin at 10:00am. The proposed variation seeks to make 5 specific amendments to the Councils policy in relation to wind energy development, which are in summary:
Amendment 1 – Text amendment providing for the inclusion of the Fresh Water Pearl Mussel catchments contained in the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Sub-Basin Management Plans for Clady, Eske, Glaskeelin, Leannan, Owencarrow and Owenea as areas ‘Not Favoured’ for wind energy developments.
Amendment 2 – Insertion of an Objective that specifically requires wind energy developments not to adversely impact upon the existing residential amenities of residential properties, and other centres of human habitation.
Amendment 3 – Provides for mapping amendment to Map 9 (wind energy) to identify the 6 FWPM catchments as ‘Not Favoured’ for wind energy.
Amendment 4 – Text amendment regarding locations in the County within which turbines must not be located resulting in:
(a) Deletion of the text reference and definition of the Zone of Visual Influence of Glenveagh National Park.
(b) Insertion of reference to FWPM catchments.
(c) Provision of a set back distance of ten times the tip height of turbines from residential properties and other centres of human habitation.
Amendment 5 – Provides a definition in respect of ‘Centres of Human Habitation.’
I have blogged on the proposals during the public consultation process here and shall set out further detail in relation to the consultation process in another post. In response to the month long public consultation 3,326 submissions were received. The elected members will consider these submissions and the report of the Chief Executive (which I will respond to in a later post). However those close to the various groupings on the council indicate that the FWPM re-designation as not favoured and the 10 times setback will be passed in line with the majority (greater than 98%) of public submissions. Indications are that the proposal to weaken protections on Glenveagh will not succeed.
As always your support can help, so please take time to contact your local councillor to ensure they vote to setback and dezone from wind farms in the County Development Plan.