Mid Ulster Council turn down wind farm plan in Sperrins close to ancient stone circles

The popular tourist attraction - Beaghmore Stone Circles.mm16-316sr

The popular tourist attraction - Beaghmore Stone Circles.mm16-316sr

  • Plan was for seven wind turbines at Drumadarragh
  • Economic benefits did not outweigh the negative visual impact
  • Currently enough farms permitted to exceed 2020 renewable energy target
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An application to have seven wind turbines located in the Sperrins has been refused by Mid Ulster District Council.

The decision came at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Planning Committee when councillors unanimously agreed that the development of the wind farm at Drumadarragh should not proceed.

Windfarm

Windfarm

Previously refused planning permission by the Planning Appeals Commission in July 2011, the Commission’s decision was overruled in the courts, meaning the appeal was required to re-heard by the Council which became responsible for planning decisions since 1 April this year.

The Council was not persuaded that the economic benefits which the applicant believed would result from the turbines outweighed the negative visual impact on the area, which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in a landscape which includes the Beaghmore stone circles.

Video: Toddler takes on mighty warrior at Beaghmore Stone Circles outside Cookstown
Nor did the Council believe that the wind farm would contribute to meeting targets for renewable energy when there are currently enough farms permitted to exceed the 40% target by 2020.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Martin Kearney, Chair of the Planning Committee said: “Wind farms continue to cause strong reactions from local communities in rural areas and the Council will consider each application as it is submitted.

We will also be addressing wind farms and the wider issue of renewable energy as part of our work to create a new development plan for Mid Ulster

“However, we will also be addressing wind farms and the wider issue of renewable energy as part of our work to create a new development plan for Mid Ulster which reflects the needs and priorities of our district.”