Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has today confirmed that she has refused planning permission for the Doraville Wind Farm.
This follows the Minister’s careful consideration of the Planning Appeals Commission’s (PAC) report on the Public Local Inquiry which was held in September 2019.
The proposal is the largest wind farm to date submitted to the Department and is located wholly within the Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Minister Mallon said: “This refusal was a finely balanced decision where I had to weigh up the various benefits with the harm to the local area. I carefully considered both the findings of the independent Public Inquiry alongside the recommendations of my planning officials.
“I am a huge advocate for renewable energy that will create sustainable infrastructure for future generations. Green infrastructure represents a real opportunity for tackling the climate emergency and helping boost the economy but this should never be at the cost of the surrounding environment.
“In this case 33 wind turbines would cause considerable harm to the landscape interest of a large part of the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its unique archaeological, cultural and tourism assets. The economic and environmental benefits of the proposal would not outweigh the harm to these important interests.
“The PAC report indicates that the scale of the proposal and the sheer magnitude of the associated change has the potential to detract from local people’s sense of place and connection to the land. My aim is to improve people’s lives, not add to their burden so taking all of this in to account, and in line with the PAC recommendation, I have decided to refuse this application.”