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New planning guidance for wind energy development  

Environment Minister, Arlene Foster, today issued draft planning guidance about wind energy development in Northern Ireland’s landscape.

The Minister invited comment on the guidance which is intended to assist developers to identify appropriate locations for wind turbine and wind farm developments. She said: “Energy from wind has an important role to play in helping reduce emissions of the harmful greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. We in Northern Ireland are well placed to take advantage of this form of renewable energy, benefiting as we do from one of Europe’s best wind resources.

“However, it is vital to ensure that turbines and wind farms are located in the right places and that the landscape quality of our most scenic areas is maintained. That is why I have issued the new guidance which considers the landscape sensitivities of different parts of Northern Ireland and am keen to hear the public’s views. This move will also complement my recently published Planning Policy Statement on Renewable Energy, PPS 18, which itself is currently being consulted upon.”

Notes to Editors:

1. The Depatrment’s new planning guidance is contained in a draft Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document entitled ‘Wind Energy Development in Northern Ireland’s Landscapes.’

2. The SPG describes the sensitivity of the 130 Landscape Character Areas (LCAs) identified in the Northern Ireland Landscape Character Assessment 2000 to wind energy development and assesses the capacity of each area to accommodate this form of renewable energy.

3. The document is aimed at assisting developers, their consultants and those who determine planning applications to identify appropriate sites for this form of development as well as defining the type of development that may be acceptable in landscape and visual terms.

4. Draft PPS 18 ‘Renewable Energy’ was published for public consultation on 22 November 2007 and is available on the Planning Service website.

5. The Northern Ireland Landscape Character Assessment was published in 2000 and can be accessed from the Environment and Heritage Service Website.

6. DOE will be undertaking public consultation on the draft SPG for a period of 4 months starting from 14 February 2008. Copies of the draft report can be accessed at the Planning Service website.

7. A copy of the SPG can also be obtained from the DOEs Planning and Environmental Policy Group. River House, 48 High Street, Belfast, BT1 2AW.

8. For Further news Media information, contact DOE Press Office on 028 9054003, email press.office@doeni.gov.uk.

Northern Ireland Executive

14 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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