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Knock Iveagh: Removing wind turbine is council’s job, John O’Dowd says  

Credit:  BBC News | 7 September | www.bbc.co.uk ~~

Campaigners have said they are extremely disappointed after the infrastructure minister decided not to take action against a controversial wind turbine in County Down.

The turbine is at Knock Iveagh, a 5,000-year-old Neolithic burial site and historic monument near Rathfriland,

Opponents believe the turbine damages the heritage site.

However there has been an ongoing row over who is responsible for taking action against it.

The Department of Infrastructure said the minister, John O’Dowd, has written to the chief executive of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to say that the department believed “the council is best placed to take enforcement action… if they choose to do so”.

A spokeswoman for the department added: “It is now a matter for the council on how to proceed.”

The council has previously disputed that it has the duty to take enforcement action. It told BBC News NI that it will take the minister’s correspondence to council members to decide on the next steps.

A campaign group, the Friends of Knock Iveagh, have criticised the Mr O’Dowd’s decision.

“The minister’s claim that Irish culture and heritage are important is completely undermined by his allowing this desecration at the heart of an incredibly important ancient royal landscape,” the group said in a statement.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson described the minister’s decision as “truly shocking”.

UUP leader Doug Beattie said the department had shown “a lack of genuine thought and leadership” over the issue.

What is behind the turbine row?

The argument over who is responsible for taking action has been ongoing since the turbine’s construction in 2017.

The decision to approve the turbine was taken when planning powers resided with Stormont. However, planning powers were transferred to local councils in 2015 – after permission for the turbine was granted.

It was later found that the process was flawed as planners did not consult heritage experts, who said they would have recommended refusing the application.

At the heart of the dispute is who would pay the estimated £1m in compensation to the turbine owner if planning were revoked and the turbine taken down.

Source:  BBC News | 7 September | www.bbc.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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