Planning Portal

Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
Economy: M2 Areas of Constraint

M2 Areas of Constraint
The Department identifies Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments in order to protect the most valuable and vulnerable features of the natural environment and man-made heritage including areas of high scenic value from the adverse effects caused by the development of mineral resources.
Because of their nature, scale, location and duration of operation, mineral developments often impact more severely on the environment than other forms of development. They may damage or destroy nature conservation sites and structures and remains of historic and archaeological interest that are of importance. They can also have a significant visual effect on the landscape and on peoples living conditions.
The special landscapes of Fermanagh contain areas which require protection from the effects of further mineral extraction. The Department has therefore identified Areas of Constraint on Mineral Development to safeguard the most valuable and vulnerable areas from such detrimental development. Their identification takes account of nature conservation interests, the man-made heritage, scenic quality and visual prominence, amenity value and geological interest.
Identification as an Area of Constraint on Mineral Developments will create within it a presumption against planning permission being granted for the extraction and/or processing of minerals on any new site.
The Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments comprise :-
A Areas of nature conservation interest declared or proposed:
  • Areas of Scientific and Special Scientific Interest (ASIs and ASSIs).
  • National Nature Reserves (NNRs).
  • Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
B Areas of Significant Archaeological Interest (ASAIs):
  • Devenish
  • Topped Mountain
C Areas of high scenic value particularly vulnerable to mineral extraction
  • Lough Erne, including the Magho Cliffs and Knockninny Hill (Note this latter area also contains a number of archaeological sites and monuments):
  • Knockmore Escarpment.
  • Lough Macnean Valley (See also Plan Policy M3).
  • Lough Melvin Shoreline
  • Cuilcagh Mountain.
It should be noted that these attributes are not necessarily mutually exclusive and several areas combine the above characteristics, e.g. Lough Erne is not only of high scenic value but contains many sites of nature conservation interest and Devenish Area of Significant Archaeological Interest.
Within these Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments there are 8 mineral workings operating with permission. Proposals to extend these sites or to install additional plant or buildings will only be granted approval if the Department is satisfied with the applicant's proposals to prevent and/or minimise adverse environmental effects.
The Department however regards the landscape quality and archaeological interest of Knockninny Hill as paramount and will resist further expansion of the quarry situated on its western flanks to prevent further deterioration in the scenic quality and historic landscape of the area.
Another 6 inactive workings with valid permissions are located within the Areas of Constraint identified. Consideration of proposals to develop these sites beyond the limitations of their current permissions will include additionally, and with particular emphasis, the opportunity to secure environmental advantages from restoration of the total mineral working.
The extraction of peat for sale requires planning permission. Favourable consideration will be given to applications insofar as they are consistent with the protection of boglands valuable to conservation interests, watercourses and amenity. In particular, the Department opposes peat extraction from existing, proposed or potential sites designated because of their nature conservation importance or from areas in close proximity to such sites where their special scientific interest would be prejudiced by extraction. There are currently three designated areas within Fermanagh District - Cuilcagh Mountain ASSI, Pettigoe Plateau ASSI, and Slieve Beagh ASSI; these are all Areas of Minerals Constraint giving protection against the effects of mineral extraction. Away from such areas, permission for extraction of peat will only be granted where there is little nature conservation value and where the amenity of the area is not prejudiced by the operation.
Outside the Areas of Constraint identified proposals for mineral extraction will be considered having regard to the policies of the Plan and strategic and regional planning policies.
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