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Court blames windfarm for Derrybrien slide

“No heed paid” to earlier warning

THE massive bog slide which occurred at Derrybrien in October, 2003, could have been predicted and was caused by windfarm construction activities – rather than bad weather – a High Court judge has ruled.

In a comprehensive 343 page judgment, Mr. Justice Declan Budd, has firmly laid the blame for the bog slide on excavation works being carried out on the site involving the development of a 71 wind turbine farm in the Slieve Aughty mountains.

A small peat slide which occurred on October 2, 2003 – 14 days before the major bog movement of October 16 – ‘might have been expected to serve as warning to the developer, its various consultants and contractors, about the effect of their construction activities and methods, on the fragility and instability of the bog, despite the dry weather’, the Judge said.

However Mr. Justice Budd concluded that ‘apparently no heed was paid to this warning’. He said that the massive bog slide of October 16 contained an estimated 450,000 cubic metres of peat. On October 28, following heavy rain, the peat slide began to move again moving into two local rivers.

“There is a consensus among the reports obtained . . . that the destablisation of the blanket bog was caused by the construction work and in particular by the methods used such as the depositing of arisings (the spoil from excavation at the turbine foundations) on the blanket bog and from the construction of roads and the movement of heavy equipment on the fragile, soggy and wobbly surface of the bog,” states Mr. Justice Budd.

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Thu 3rd April 2008