Major Planning Decision protecting Connemara Landscape

17th July 2011
Press Release

Press Release 17th July 2011

“Major Planning Decision protecting Connemara Landscape”

Refusal by An Bord Pleanála ref: PL07.238734 overturning permission by Galway County Council Ref 10/1326, for 27 wind turbines at Lettermuckoo, Muckanaghkillew Galway

An Bord Pleanála has refused a major wind energy development in east Connemara following appeal by An Taisce and a number of local sources.

The application by ‘Gaoi an Iarthar Teo’ was for 27 turbines in an area of peatland and lake landscape, 4kms north of Ros an Mhil.

An Taisce considered the site formed part of the internationally significant mountain bog and lake Connemara landscape area.

In its refusal decision An Bord Pleanála ruled that:

‘The Connemara landscape is one of the principal assets of tourism in County Galway’

The decision further stated that notwithstanding the identification of the site as being in a potential ‘strategic’ area for wind farm development that construction of turbines in this sensitive location would contravene the landscape protection policies in the Galway County Development Plan 2009-2015.

This decision follows a number of other significant refusals by An Bord Pleanála of wind energy developments on the basis of ecological impact particularly in hen harrier and other Birds Directive, Special Protection Areas. It highlights the need for an effective national strategy for future wind energy development to reconcile the imperative of meeting renewable energy targets while at the same time protecting biodiversity and our most iconic landscapes.

The application site area should now form part of an extended Connemara mountain and peatland National Park area.

An Taisce is replying to the Galway County Council Draft Wind Energy Strategy seeking amendment to exclude the application site and another location to the north as ‘Acceptable in Principle Areas’ for wind turbines.

This case again highlights the requirement for the continued involvement of An Bord Pleanála in ensuring Local Authorities comply with their own development plans.

Ends

For further commentary/clarification please contact:

Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Tasice The National Trust for Ireland, 01 707 7064

Charles Stanley-Smith, Chair, An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland, 087 2411995