December 3, 2021

Permission for west Donegal wind farm refused over concerns about impact on wildlife

Eight-turbine wind farm near Glenties posed ‘significant risks to nature conservation’ | By Declan Magee | 2 Dec 2021 |

Donegal County Council has refused planning permission for an eight-turbine wind farm near Glenties citing concerns about the potential impact on rare birdlife and conservation areas.

Cuilfeach Teoranta applied in October to build eight turbines in the townlands of Graffy, Meenamanragh and Dalraghan More near Glenties.

The application attracted dozens of objections which raised concerns about the potential impact of the wind farm on the landscape and wildlife.

In rejecting the application, Donegal County Council said was not in a position to “adequately access wind energy proposals” due to a lacuna in its wind energy policies following a 2018 High Court challenge to the county development plan.

The council also said insufficient detail was submitted in the planning application on the potential impacts on salmon, and freshwater pearl mussels in the West of Ardara/Mass Road and River Finn conservation areas.

Planners ruled the project posed “very high” potential risks to salmon and the freshwater pearl mussel.

The council also said the application did not address “the likely significant impacts” on merlin in nearby special protection areas, nor did it assess the potential risks to golden and white-tailed eagles, which are classed as “highly sensitive to wind farm developments”.

The council’s roads section refused to facilitate the installation of high voltage cables in local roads as proposed by the developer.

The council’s decision came after the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said in a submission it had concerns about “significant risks to nature conservation” arising from the proposed wind farm, including the potential impacts on wildlife.

In the application from Strabane-based Harley Planning Consultants, the developer said a community benefit fund would be established when the wind farm was commissioned and this would offer “a tangible long-term dividend to the community”.

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