Tomorrow, 30 March 2015, Donegal County Council will meet and consider a report prepared by their Senior Executive Planner in relation to the proposed Carrickaduff wind farm. Under section 37E(4) of the Planning and Development Act (as amended) Donegal County Council is required to submit a report to An Bord Pleanála setting out the views of the authority on the effects of the proposed development on the environment and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
In a copy of the report seen by CAWT – Donegal it seems that Donegal County Council is very concerned by the proposed development of a massive 49-turbine industrial wind complex between Barnes, Killygordon and Castlefinn. In a detailed 65 page report the Council highlight a number, but not all, of the shortcomings in the proposal. The Council recommend that a very significant level of further information is required from the applicant. The Council go on to state should the Planree Ltd, the Cork based promoters, respond to the further information requests that all elements of the EIS and NIS should be revised.
It is clearly stated within the report that Donegal County Council would not be in favour of a decision to grant planning permission at this time. Given the scale of the proposed further information required an alternative is presented by Donegal Councitl, they state that:
… it would be premature to consider a grant of planning permission for the development as presently proposed. It is therefore the opinion of the Planning Authority that if An Bord Pleanala is not minded to seek further information in the terms set out above that planning permission should be refused for reasons:
(1) Injury to residential amenity arising from excessive occurrences of shadow flicker in excess of the recommended limits,
(2) Injury to residential amenity as a result of disparity of scale and spatial and visual dominance of the transitional marginal landscape types in the eastern Lismullyduff Cluster,
(3) Injury to visual amenity as a result of disparity of scale and spatial and visual dominance of the transitional marginal landscape types in the eastern Lismullyduff Cluster,
(4) Injury to a designated view and prospect over Lough Mourne as a result of blade sets cutting the skyline/horizon in a manner contrary to the recommendations of the Guidelines an contrary to Policy NH-P-14 of the County Development Plan, 2012-2018 (as varied),
(5) Injury to designated Areas of Especially High Scenic Amenity (EHSA) as a result of excessive turbines numbers of excessive scale and height in undue proximity to Barnesmore Gap and in a manner contrary to Objective NH-O-5 of the County Development Plan, 2012-2018 (as varied),
(6) Prejudice to the integrity, quality and augmentation of a public water supply by reason of a failure to have due and proper regard to same in the EIS and the assessment of the potential impacts of the proposed development on same,
(7) Prejudice to public safety by reason of a traffic hazard as a result of the failure to carry out a structural analysis of
(i) the local road network, and
(ii) bridges on the delivery route, as a result of the failure to designate construction routes for the delivery of steel and concrete, as a result of the failure to propose adequate public traffic management arrangements, as a result of the failure to provide junction designs (both local and national) to the required standards, and as a result of the undue proximity of turbines to local roads contrary to the recommended separation distances of the 2006 Wind Energy Guidelines.
This report, including its recommendations, will now be presented to the elected members. The Councillors may, by resolution, decide to attach their own recommendations to the report, they have the opportunity to make a real input to An Bord Pleanála on this matter. If they decide to do so, those recommendations (together with the meetings administrator’s record) shall be attached to the Council’s report and submitted to An Bord Pleanála. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the Council chamber, which members speak and which members, if any, are forced to declare an interest, or that of a connected person, in the proposed development.
Nevertheless, it seems the Carrickaduff wind farm proposal is encountering significant planning head winds.