Councillor Gary Doherty is calling on Donegal County Council to seek updated wind energy guidelines to prevent any future disasters such as the Meenbog bogslide occurring again.
Investigations are ongoing following the major land slippage near a wind farm development outside Ballybofey on 13th November. Significant pollution occurred at Mourne Beg River and downstream catchments as a result.
The following week, local residents were “absolutely incredulous” when they received a letter from the wind farm developers telling them of plans to build a second wind farm in the area.
Sinn Féin Cllr Doherty raised the issue at this week’s county council meeting as he asked the local authority to write to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to urge for the urgent publication of updated Wind Energy Guidelines. He also asked that Donegal’s County Development Plan be varied to ensure no repeat of recent ecological disasters or harm to environment, residents or wildlife.
Cllr Doherty asked the council to further examine activity at Meenbog after the council issued a notice under the Water Pollution Act to the developer.
Cllr Doherty said: “We received assurances at this time that work would cease at this development site until a full investigation is carried out. Images over the weekend past on the 28th November appeared to show further works have been completed by the developer at that site.”
Cllr Doherty asked the council to immediately ascertain what works have been done, ensure that only mitigation works that prevent further slippage has been done and to serve an enforcement notice on the developer to prevent further works until the multi agency investigation is completed.
He asked for an update to the County Development Plan “to ensure these wind farms do not happen in areas that are completely unsuitable and where local people and elected members for the area are opposed to them.”
Cllr Doherty also asked that the council’s Variation on Wind Energy, which was confirmed in 2018, be expedited for the good of people, nature and wildlife.
In response, the council confirmed that it has included a Variation of the County Development 2018-2024 in its work programme for early 2021 to provide for a Wind Energy Policy in line with the new Wind Energy Guidelines, which are expected to be published by the year-end.