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30-turbine wind farm application fails

An Bord Pleanála has halted plans for a 31 turbine wind farm at Bellacorick because of its impact on the “sensitive and vulnerable area”.
The planning appeals board agreed with Mayo County Council and refused permission for the project with its 31 turbines, control building, and meteorological mast on the slopes of Slieve Fyagh, with a ridgeline that is recognised as vulnerable in the current Mayo County Development Plan.
The planning authority rejected the project on the grounds that the construction of a wind farm would “detract from the rural character and scenic amenities of this sensitive and vulnerable area and would adversely impact on an extensive part of the landscape.”
Airtricity Development Ltd and Coillte Teoranta were denied permission by Mayo County Council on February 12, 2004, for reasons relating to the visual effect of the development in the area, its interference with the safety of aircraft and the premature nature of the construction in the absence of a comprehensive wind energy strategy for Mayo.
Bord Pleanála upheld the council’s decision saying the development would “seriously injure the visual amenities of the area and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.
The proposed site is located on the eastern slopes of Slieve Fyagh. It is divided into two sections, which are referred to as Sheskin north and Sheskin south. Six turbines are proposed in Sheskin north and 25 turbines in Sheskin south.
There is no planning history on the site, however an appeal, also by Airtricity, is currently with the Board against the decision of the Planning Authority to refuse permission for 29 wind turbines at Ballycastle, while permission was granted by the Board at the end of last year for a 210 turbine wind farm at Bellacorick.

Western People

29 September 2004