Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has confirmed she intends to seek a public inquiry for the Gruggandoo wind farm, just outside Newryin the Mornes.
This follows the Minister’s careful review of her officials’ development management report which recommended that the application be denied. The application proposes eight wind turbines with a total height of 142.5 meters within the Mornes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Minister Mallon said: “There has been a significant level of public representation to the proposal, both for and against. I am a big advocate for renewable energy that will create sustainable infrastructure for future generations.
“Green infrastructure represents a real opportunity to address the climate emergency and help revive the economy, but this should never come at the expense of the environment.”
“In this case, eight wind turbines are proposed in the Mournes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. My officials were concerned that the proposal would have an unacceptable negative impact on the visual amenity and character of the landscape due to the landscape’s sensitivity to within the Mornes AONB and Special Campaign Area.
“There were also concerns that the development could adversely impact a specified tourist asset and impacts on the integrity of the location of a listed monument of regional importance in the locality.”
“I have carefully considered the recommendation of my planning officials, including the significant potential environmental, social and economic benefits that could arise from such a development, including the contribution it could make to achieving the ambitions of the energy strategy and the upcoming climate change bill.
“However, given the range of important issues at stake, I believe that a more thorough discussion of the issues at a public inquiry and the benefit of an independent report from the Planning Appeal Board would help. to make a final decision on this request.”
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