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Permission refused for wind farm due to presence of protected bird

Planning permission has been refused for a wind farm in Donegal due to fears of the potential impact on a protected species of bird.

An Bord Pleanála has refused permission following an appeal by Behy Renewable Energy Ltd, whose plans for the wind farm close to the Donegal-Fermanagh border were initially rejected by Donegal County Council in 2019.

The proposed development sought to erect up to seven turbines, each rising up to 150 metres, across the town lands of Behy, Cashelard, Tullyhorky and Doobally.

An appeal was lodged to An Bord Pleanála in August 2019.

However, the planning authority has concurred with the original decision of Donegal County Council.

The proposed development would, they concluded have facilitated and supported the achievement of European and National renewable energy and climate change policies.

However, the Board considered that the development would not be in accordance with the proper planning and development of the area, by reason of significant adverse impact on Hen Harrier

The Hen Harrier, a bird of prey, is afford protection under the EU Bird Directive A recent survey showed that there were only an estimated 108-157 Hen Harrier in Ireland.

In explaining the decision to refuse permission, An Bord Pleanála said: “The Board is not satisfied, based on the details submitted with the application and appeal, notwithstanding the mitigation measures set out to address the impacts on Hen Harrier, that the proposed development, by itself and in conjunction with the permitted Derrykillew Community Wind Farm development, would not have a significant adverse impact on Hen Harrier…

“The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”