A proposal to create Northern Ireland’s largest wind farm on a site on the Sperrin Mountains has been rejected by the North’s infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.
The SDLP Minister made her decision following a four-day public inquiry last September and a refusal recommendation by the North’s Planning Appeals Commission.
There were 2,160 representations received in relation to the application, of which 2,153 were objections.
The Doraville Wind Farm proposal involved the erection of 33 wind turbines comprising 10 turbines with a maximum tip height of 136m (446ft) and 23 turbines with a maximum tip height of 149m (489ft). The site is 12km west of Draperstown in Co Derry.
“This refusal was a finely balanced decision where I had to weigh up the various benefits with the harm to the local area,” said Ms Mallon.
‘Considerable harm to landscape’
The Minister said she was a “huge advocate for renewable energy” but that “in this case 33 wind turbines would cause considerable harm to the landscape interest of a large part of the Sperrin area of outstanding natural beauty and its unique archaeological, cultural and tourism assets”.
Ms Mallon added: “The PAC [commission] report indicates that the scale of the proposal and the sheer magnitude of the associated change has the potential to detract from local people’s sense of place and connection to the land. My aim is to improve people’s lives, not add to their burden. So taking all of this in to account, and in line with the PAC recommendation, I have decided to refuse this application.”
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