A team of Government landscape specialists reported that the Strabane area was becoming saturated with wind turbines back in 2008 but Environment Minister Alex Attwood says the view does not represent his Department’s policy position,
Mr Attwood made the comments in reference to a report commissioned by the Planning Service in 2008.
According to West Tyrone MLA Michaela Boyle the report found that the area was “already at a point of near capacity and there was only limited scope for further wind turbine development.”
She asked Mr Attwood why this position had been superseded by further planning approvals and applications pending.
Mr Attwood replied: “The West Tyrone Study undertaken by the Department’s landscape architects, at the request of Planning Service, was a review of the existing planning approvals and planning applications then under consideration.
“This was in response to an unprecedented number of separate planning applications being submitted in the West Tyrone area at that time.
“Its purpose was to inform the subsequent decision making process in relation to planning applications under consideration at the time.”
Mr Attwood said the views expressed in the study were solely the professional assessment of the Department’s landscape architects and not necessarily that of the Department as a whole.
“They represent a material consideration, one among the range of material considerations, which inform the Department’s final decision on individual planning applications,” he explained.
“The content of the study has status as one of guidance. It does not represent the Department’s policy position, which is contained in PPS 18,” he added.
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