Hearing into Derryadd Wind Farm: Time is ‘running out’ to act

Recent reports, in line with the UN Climate Change Report 2018, indicate that we only have a very narrow window – approximately 10 years – to act to reduce carbon emissions in the interest of human health and well-being and to protect the natural world.

This stark sentiment was expressed by Longford County Council’s senior planner Donall Mac An Bheatha during an oral hearing regarding the Derryadd Wind Farm proposal by Bord na Móna Powergen Ltd which took place in Longford on Wednesday, June 12.

The hearing, which was chaired by John Desmond, planning inspector, An Bord Pleanála, was held to examine submissions made by a number of entities including the Irish Wildlife Trust; Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII); Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA); Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI); National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS); and the ‘No to Derryadd Wind Farm’ group – all of whom have highlighted their opposition to the development.

Meanwhile, Bord na Móna Powergen Ltd is seeking permission to develop the wind farm – and all associated infrastructure – comprising 24 wind turbines, nine of which will be located in Derryrogue Bog; eight in Derryadd Bog; and seven of which will be located in Lough Bannow Bog – close to Lanesboro.

Renewable energy production

Wednesday’s hearing heard that the turbines will have a maximum blade tip height of 185m and that an electrical substation – including battery storage comprising eight containerised modules – is also proposed for construction at one of two locations on the site.

This application, those gathered for the hearing heard, seeks a 10-year planning permission with a 30-year operational life from the date of commissioning of the entire wind farm.

Mac An Bheatha, meanwhile, pointed to the chief executive of Longford County Council’s report on the matter which, he added, concluded with an acceptance that the proposed development “will significantly increase renewable energy production”.

Subject to the implementation of all relevant mitigation measures [the council] is positively disposed to the construction of a wind farm at the location.

He continued: “In 2014 the Government adopted the national policy position on climate action and Low Carbon Development; in January 2018 Ireland’s first statutory National Adaption Framework (NAF) was published by the Government.

“The NAF sets out the national strategy to reduce the vulnerability of the country to the negative effects of climate change and to avail of positive impacts.”

Running out of time

The senior planner went on then to point to two recent reports.

Pictured (centre) is Longford County Council’s senior planner Donall Mac An Bheatha with local authority staff at the hearing

He said that ‘The Imperative of Climate Action to Protect Human Health in Europe‘ from the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projections‘ left the world in no doubt as to what needs to be done in the battle to save the planet.

“These reports,” he added, “are in line with the UN Climate Change Report, October 2018, which indicates that we only have a very narrow window – approximately 10 years – to act to reduce carbon emissions.

“We must act now.”