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A county of windfarms: Campaigners issue warning to councillors

A well-known Donegal environmental group has claimed that no councillor with an interest in letting lands should be allowed to vote in the upcoming county Draft Development Plan – which could see an astonishing 2,300 designated areas.

The Gweebarra Conservation Group has joined the growing chorus of community and environment groups in Donegal who are concerned about the rezoning of over half the rural townlands in the County to ‘preferred areas for windfarm development’ in the draft County Development Plan.

Donegal’s county councillors will vote on the plan in June of this year.

Patricia Sharkey, a spokesperson for the Group, said ‘We believe that no
Councillor who has a vested interest in (or who has a family member with a vested interest in) leasing land to wind farm developers, mining companies or the ESB and Eirgrid to erect high voltage poles or pylons on their land, should be allowed to vote on the Draft County Development Plan – otherwise the system is ripe for the type of corruption detailed in the Mahon Tribunal’.

‘Donegal County Council should be working for needs of local people and not to the agenda of the wind plant developers.’

The Planners’ decision to rezone over 2,300 Townlands, many containing Special Areas of Conservation and areas of High Scenic Amenity, was made with little public consultation, say campaigners.

The Gweebarra Conservation Group believe that few members of the public know about this new clause.

The GCG says it is critical of the fact that the Council Planners and the County Councillors have been lobbied by the Irish Wind Energy Association yet the Council have refused to meet with local environment groups like the Gweebarra Conservation Group.

The Group has over 1,100 local supporters on its Facebook page and has held many packed public meetings in south west Donegal in recent
years.

They believe that this rezoning decision is precisely the type of bad
planning which has lead An Taisce to call for an independent Ombudsman on Planning in Ireland.

How donegaldaily.com reported the 2,300 townlands designation:

http://www.donegaldaily.com/2012/04/10/2300-donegal-townlands-designated-for-windfarms-as-campaigners-challenge-taoiseach/