Applications to build winds farms in Northern Ireland are taking years too long to be sanctioned by planners, it was claimed yesterday.
The granting of permission needs to be speeded up if the Province is not to lose out on its potential for green electricity, the Assembly was warned by Tommy Gallagher [SDLP, Fermanagh and South Tyrone].
Investors would look to other countries in Europe or even further afield if they were faced with continuing delays to the schemes, the MLA warned.
He spoke out after the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Nigel Dodds, revealed there had been a 60% increase in applications to build wind farms and that there was the potential to generate 1,000 megawatts of green electricity in the planning process.
He gave the detail during brief debate on an amendment to the Draft Renewables Obligation Order.
Mr Gallagher warned something needed to be done to speed up the planning process in what he described as “the second most resourced place in Europe for wind”.
He said: “I am sure many members will agree with me that applications for wind farms and other forms of renewables are presently in the planning system for far too many years – there are a great deal of obstacles there to be overcome.
“The whole system of dealing with such applications needed to be streamlined”, he added.
Mr Gallagher warned: “There is massive investment behind each of these applications and the investors are unlikely to hang around.”
16 October 2007
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