Donegal Co. Council is set to object to plans for a €200 million wind farm development, where the turbine blade tip height would be a maximum of 156.5 metres – more than twice the height of Liberty Hall.
Under the fast-tracking Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID) process, the planning application has by-passed Donegal Co. Council and has been lodged directly with An Bord Pleanala by Cork based company Planree Limited.
It is proposing to erect up to 49 wind turbines on a site that stretches for 15 km along the Donegal-Tyrone border, north-east of the Barnsemore Gap.
Today, Donegal Co. Council is discussing the plans.
The Council has drawn up a report calling for further information from the promoters.
Councillors are backing the report and want An Bord Pleanala to refuse the application.
The Council’s report will now be forwarded to An Bord Pleanala to consider, with the comments of councillors as an addendum.
Several councillors have raised concerns – notably about noise, shadow flicker, sleep deprivation, visual impact and property values.
The Council is set to send its findings to An Bord Pleanala with recommendations and taking on board the views of councillors.
Much of the land is owned by Coillte which has consented to the plans. Agreement has also been reached with around 15 landowners, who will be paid an annual sum for every turbine on their land during the lifetime of the wind farm.
If the project gets the green light from planners, it will have an installed generation capacity of 105 megawatts – enough to power the equivalent of 60,000 homes, or approximately 80% of all Donegal households. Up to 49 turbines are proposed.
The promoters say it could be up and running by 2017.
Around 200 houses are within one kilometre of a turbine but no house is nearer than 700 metres – above the national guideline distance of 500 metres.
The company has also drawn up plans for a community fund with over €130,000 being set aside each year for local community development projects that would be overseen by a special committee with local representation.
The site of the proposed development has been designated as “Open to Consideration” for wind farm developments in the current Donegal Co. Development Plan.
More to follow….
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