AN application for planning permission to build a wind farm at a Northern Irish beauty spot has been refused.
The Department for Infrastructure (DFI) has issued a Notice of Opinion to refuse planning permission for the proposed Unshinagh Wind Farm within the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Deemed ‘regionally significant’, the planning application was for a windfarm comprising 14 three-bladed horizontal axis wind turbines.
After considering it, civil servants – who are running the DFI due to the ongoing Stormont stalemate meaning locally elected political representatives are not currently in position – have issued a Notice of Opinion to refuse planning permission.
On reaching the decision, the Permanent Secretary of the Department explained: “Due cognisance was given to the contribution that renewable energy can make to both the economy and tackling climate change; however in this case the significant harm that would be caused to the landscape of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the ecological impacts on protected species within the Antrim Hills Special Protection Area along with the archaeological, cultural and tourism assets in the locality outweighed the economic and environmental benefits.”
The DFI added: “The Permanent Secretary made the decision under powers laid out in the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2022.”
The applicant has 42 days from the date the Notice of Opinion was issued to seek a hearing before the Planning Appeals Commission.