PERMISSION has been given for a major development at an existing wind farm site in Donegal.
An Bord Pleanála has granted permission to the world at the Barnesmore Windfarm site.
The development will see the decommissioning and removal of 25 existing wind turbines and the construction of up to 13 wind turbines.
The permission also includes all associated site development and ancillary works including upgrade works associated with the existing 110kV grid connection and widening of junction and local road.
The application was made by ScottishPower Renewables (UK) Limited in December 2019 and has been subject to meetings of the planning authority over the last 12 months.
An Bord Pleanála has given permission, subject to 23 conditions, many of which are ‘in the interest of protection of the environment’ with some others laid down to help ‘ensure the protection, restoration and enhancement of peatland habitats within Barnesmore Bog NHA’.
‘The developer shall ensure that all peat related mitigation measures are implemented in full and monitored throughout the life cycle of the construction works and monitored throughout the operational phase,’ the planning authority said.
Decommissioning and construction works will be limited between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday and the operation of the development will be subjected to restrictions on noise level.
In its decision, An Bord Pleanála say that the development ‘would not have an unacceptable impact on the landscape or ecology, it would not seriously injure the visual or residential amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity, and it would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience.
‘The proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.’
Consideration was given to several European Sites in the locality, including Lough Eske and Ardnamona Wood, River Foyle and Tributaries, River Finn, Pettigo Plateau Nature Reserve and Lough Derg SPA.
An Bord Pleanála said: ‘The Board was satisfied that the proposed development would not adversely affect the integrity of the European sites in view of the sites’ conservation objectives and there is no reasonable scientific doubt as to the absence of such effects’.