first_imgA workshop on the variation of certain wind policies in the current County Development Plan is to be discusse at a workshop at Donegal County Council next Monday.Wind turbines have been a contentious issue in the county for a number of years with many people feeling that Council is ignoring their impact on communities.In 2012 the Council zoned more than 2300 townlands as “preferred for wind farming”, in contravention to a letter from the Department warning them that their wind farm zoning policy was “not evidence based”. This zoning policy that has led to An Bord Pleanála overturning 38 of 42 turbines approved by Donegal county council during 2013, an overturn rate of over 90%.Glenties Wind Farm Information Group chairman Mr Ernan O’Donnell says the Straboy wind farm of 25 turbines on the hills overlooking Glenties town were amongst those rejected by ABP.In a lengthy report extending to over 185 pages the Inspector was very critical of the proposal and amongst the primary grounds for rejection were the high risk to many nearby houses because of possible peat slippage from two massive post construction peat dumps and the danger of massive siltation of the Owenea river system and it’s fresh water pearl mussel population.To that end GWiG presented to Council a variation on its wind policies to restrict wind farming in fresh water pearl mussel river catchment areas, and to introduce a setback distance of ten times by turbine tip height in the interests of public safety. At the reconvened meeting of the council on 9th December there was lengthy debate on the two issues but other issues of wind policy were also raised by councillors.To that end it was decided to hold this workshop and discuss all aspects of wind policy.Mr O’Donnell expressed some frustration at the procrastination of Donegal County Council on the matter particularly when one considers two significant turbine failures in the county in the past nine months neither of which yet has had a report on the incident published. He also stated;“Donegal County Council must recognise the issues raised in the Straboy An Bord Pleanala report, which clearly found Council in breach of EU Habitats Directives in advocating a wind farm in the Fresh Water Pearl Mussel catchment of the Owenea. The Regulations, of 2009, were introduced in response to a decision of the European Court of Justice against Ireland and are specifically intended to support the achievement of favourable conservation status for the Freshwater Pearl Mussel.“The six Sub Basin District Management Plans for County Donegal, which were brought into being for the protection of this species as part of the Water Framework Directive, are all identified in Co. Donegal as ‘at risk’ from wind farm development”. He welcomed the fact that the workshop will still go ahead on Monday and that the outcomes of it will finally be presented to the full Council meeting on 27 January where councillors will vote on sending the proposed changes out for the required public consultation.“Anything arising from the workshop will be bolted on to our already agreed motions for variation; that is, setback distance of 10 times maximum tip height of turbine, and the exclusion of the six Fresh Water Pearl Mussel catchment areas from wind farming. All will then be sent out to Public Consultation. That is what was agreed, as read out by the County Secretary at the December meeting” said Mr O’Donnell.COUNCIL TO HOLD LONG-AWAITED WIND ENERGY WORKSHOP was last modified: January 17th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal County CouncilWind energyWorkshoplast_img read more