The proposed site for the wind turbines on Behey mountain (in background) near Lough Cholmcille Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Planning permission has been denied for a south Donegal wind farm which would have been one of the tallest in the county.
The proposed seven-turbine wind farm in the Behy Mountain area of Cashelard near Ballyshannon has been refused planning permission due to concern over the impact on the hen harrier.
Donegal County Council said it could not be satisfied that the development, which would be an extension to an existing wind farm, would not have a negative impact on the breeding grounds and foraging areas of the protected species.
The council also said noise from the development may have negative impacts on the local population on both sides of the border.
The decision was also refused due to issues with the wind farm policy in the Donegal County Development Plan.
Parts of the policy were removed following a legal challenge and a variation is due to be brought before the council in September to deal with the gap in the policy.
The council said it is not in a position to adequately assess wind energy proposals until the variation process is completed.
Some local people had opposed the wind farm through a group named Community Against Behy Wind Farm.
A spokesman for the group said they were happy with the decision.
“We will have to wait and watch this space to see what happens,” he said.
Submissions in favour of the wind farm were also made from local residents.
The proposed wind farm could have tip heights as much as 20m more than the Acres wind farm near Ballyshannon which were granted planning with a maximum tip height of 130m.
The tallest wind turbines in the country are at Meenwaun Wind Farm in Offaly with tip heights of 169m.
The tallest wind turbines granted planning permission in the county have a tip height of 156.5m and were given the go-ahead at a site in the townlands of Meenbog, Croaghonagh, and Cashelnavean near Barnesmore.
An Taisce had expressed concerns about the potential impact of the development on the hen harrier.
Objections from locals included concerns about the proximity of the wind farm to homes, the potential health risks and impacts caused by noise and shadow flicker, the potential impact on quality of life, the devaluation of property, the potential visual impact on Ballyshannon as a heritage town.