FIE has lodged a comprehensive objection for what could be the largest wind farm in the State.

The proposal is for 45 wind turbines 126 metres in height located at Shragh near Doonbeg in County Clare, where 13 turbines have been constructed or approved already.

The development does not comply with the Wind Farm Strategy 2011 - 2017 of the Clare County Development Plan, the National Wind Farm Guidelines, the EU Guidance on wind energy development in accordance with the EU nature legislation, the Strategic Environmental Assessment for the area, the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Wildlife Acts.

'For developers to continue to press proposals that are against the specific assessments undertaken by the Local Authority is a return to the bad planning free-for-all that has cost the country dearly over the last decade.'


States largest windfarm opposed

 

A comprehensive objection for what could be the largest wind farm in the State has been lodged with the Planning Appeals Board by Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] under the Strategic Infrastructure Act.

 

The proposal is for 45 wind turbines 123 metres in total height located near Doonbeg in County Clare, where 13 turbines have been constructed or approved already.

 

FIE submissions states that 'the proposed very large wind farm is an inappropriate development as it will have a significant adverse visual impact on the landscape, ecological and on rare and protected species with an adverse effect on tourism and the local economy'

 

The submission claims that the development does not comply with the Wind Farm Strategy 2011 – 2017 of the Clare County Development Plan, the National Wind Farm Guidelines, the EU Guidance on wind energy development in accordance with the EU nature legislation, the Strategic Environmental Assessment [SEA] for the area, the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Wildlife Acts.

 

FIE claims that the SEA for Wind Farms in County Clare specifically limits wind farms to one more in the area and that has already been granted.

 

"For developers to continue to press proposals that are against the specific assessments undertaken by the Local Authority is a return to the bad planning free-for-all that has cost the country dearly over the last decade.

 

'Because of the substantial payments involved to participating land owners, developers can split rural communities with long term social consequences.'

 

The group claims that "The biggest mistake of all was the Government's failure to conduct a national Strategic Environmental Assessment as all counties in Ireland have areas with sufficient wind speeds to make them economically viable. The national requirement for 40% of energy to be produced by renewable resources can be adequately addressed without the necessity of non-compliance with the Strategic Environmental Assessment carried out by the Local Authority for its Wind Farm Development Strategy.

 

FIE quotes a Heritage Council study which showed that 46% of the respondents were opposed to wind farms of more than 25 turbines. It claims that the Tullaher Loop and the Doonbeg Loop walking routes have been developed through the area of bog lands upon which the proposed development will be sited and tourism will be adversely affected.

 

The submission also quotes a European Court Judgment detailing Ireland's failure to protect the foraging area of certain bird species, noting that Hen harrier, Whooper swan and the Greenland white-fronted geese all use the site for foraging.

 

The group refers to the recent EPA 'Boglands' Report which confirms the National Wind Farm Guidleines recommends that this scale of the proposed wind farm is more suited to the industrial cutover bogs of the midlands.

 

January 6 is the closing date for submissions.

 

Read the full objection

http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/cmsfiles/files/library/shragh_windfarm_submission_24dec11.pdf

 

Verification and comment: Caroline Lewis, 027 74771

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