COUNCILLOR Jimmy Harte has called for a more structured plan to encourage the development of wind farms in the county following a recent decision by County Council to refuse planning permission to two potential wind-farm developers.
"I don't quite think we've grasped the idea of wind energy here in Donegal yet. We need to designate certain zones or areas where we either do or do not allow the development of wind farms," stated Councillor Harte at this week's Letterkenny Electoral Area meeting.
"As it is at the moment, farmers and investors; potential developers of these wind farms do not know where they stand."
"I was in Brussels last week where we were more-or-less told to forget about farming as it was on the way out. We know that Donegal has been badly hit by Europe in terms of farming. And in this respect we need to start to look at finding alternatives. We need to promote wind farms and the potential to harvest wind energy in Donegal."
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Harte emphasised: "We definitely need more clarity with regard to wind farms. We need to point people in the right direction and have designated guidelines so that they are not going through the whole planning process which is costly and time consuming only be to turned down at the end of it."
"One of the most important things which needs to be taken into consideration is that these wind farms need to be looked at, not just as structures, but as a positive contribution to creating renewable energy for the future of the planet."
Last month Dutch firm 'BV WEOM Stationsweg' were refused permission for the development of a 10mw wind-farm comprised of five 2mw wind turbines at Raphoe, namely the townlands of Lettergull and Momeen, Ballylennon, Binnion, Creatland, Creagdos and Ballyboe.
The County Manager's order in refusing the construction of this wind-farm states the area consists of primarily low-lying farm and open land interspersed throughout with a small number of hillocks such as Binnion and Lettergull. The recently adopted County Development Plan requires the Council to consider wind energy proposals in light of certain contexts. The Planning Authority's sentiments express that with regard to Binnion Hill, its proximity to the nearby heavily trafficked stretch of National Primary Road (N14) and the lying open lands along the regional road network to the east the proposed development would be injurious to the natural amenity of the environment and would constitute an unduly prominent intrusion on the environment. In this respect it would militate against the preservation of the rural character and would be contrary to the County Development Plan
Newtownfore Wind Ltd. was also refused permission on the 22nd of February for the erection of an electricity generating wind-farm to be located within the townlands of Drumnaskea, Newtownfore, Ballyboencurragh, and Castleshanaghan.
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