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Planning setback for Belleek windfarm over wildlife fears

A DECISION to refuse planning for a border windfarm near Belleek has been appealed.
Planning permission for what could be one of the tallest wind farms in the county was refused by Donegal County Council over concerns in relation to wildlife.
There are concerns that the windfarm will spoil views of unspoilt blanket bog from the Boa Island Road coming into Belleek and that planning permission will eventually be passed.
The application proposes seven wind turbines in the Behy Mountain area of Cashelard. The North’s Department for Infrastructure here has received notification from An Bord Pleanala of an appeal of Donegal County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the proposal “which is likely to have significant effects on the environment in Northern Ireland”.
It is understood that the proposed development would be an extension to an existing windfarm which is located close to Belleek in the border area of Fermanagh/Donegal.
Belleek Councillor John Coyle remarked that when canvassing for votes earlier this year he had been asked on doorsteps if he had an issue with the windfarm. “What I said before was that there was no consultation,” he added, “I don’t stand for corruption or pulling the wool over peoples eyes. People need to be consulted properly and informed of what was going to happen.”
Cllr Coyle explained that a cross-border lobby group was set up against the windfarm. “They are trying to protect the environment. The consultation had to be put out right to get people’s views on how it might affect the environment. I think this is vitally important to any planning application.”
The planning decision which is currently being appealed refers to an application for a ten year planning permission for a wind farm with a 30 year operational life. The proposal is for seven wind turbines with a tip height of up to 150m.
Councillor Coyle continued to note, “I am not against windfarms, renewable energy is something we need,” but he adds, “we have a lot of wildlife in the area”.
Referring to the ongoing appeal he said, “People who have made objections now have every opportunity to go and make representations in front of An Bord Plenala and make sure their concerns for the environment are made abundantly clear.”

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