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Controversial wind turbine taken down

A huge wind turbine near Castlewellan which was at the centre of a recent Planning Appeals Commission hearing has been taken down.

The decision to remove for the 225kw turbine located on an elevated site in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) at Dundrinne Road was confirmed at the end of last month.

Planning permission was originally granted in January 2009 for a 15-metre high domestic turbine on land 350 metres south west of 63 Dundrinne Road.

The permission was not implemented, but a subsequent application for a 30-metre turbine with a 20-metre blade diameter was submitted in 2010. Formal approval was granted in 2011 which stood 40 metres tall at its highest point.

However, the turbine was a third higher than the one which secured approval and 80 metres east of the approved location.

Local planners – who received almost 30 letters objecting to the relocated turbine – refused to grant retrospective permission, arguing the structure was contrary to planning policy.

The total height of the turbine that was eventually constructed was 54 metres. The turbine was 39.5 metres tall to its hub, with a blade diameter of 29 metres.

During the recent hearing, Commissioner Rosemary Daly agreed that objections from planners and third parties in relation to the noise impact of the turbine were sustained.

In addition, she said the wider environmental, economic and social benefits of renewable energy development do not override the “unacceptable adverse impact” on the character of the area and the Mourne AONB.

Commissioner Daly said no “persuasive overriding reasons” were presented to demonstrate why the turbine was essential.

She said the appellant was seeking a five-month period to decommission the turbine and

relocate to it to the location that was considered acceptable in 2010. Under planning enforcement legislation, he would have 56 days to complete the work.

Commissioner Daly added: “The evidence presented by the appellant was not convincing to support the request for an extended time period.

“The matters relating to the relocation of a wind turbine to the previously approved location is not a justifiable reason to continue any further injury to amenity which has been caused by the breach of control.”