Planning Portal

Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy PSU 12 Renewable Energy

Policy PSU 12 Renewable Energy
This policy has been superseded by  PPS 18: Renewable Energy
To assess proposals for developing renewable energy sources against the need to protect and conserve the environment.
Renewable energy is that which occurs naturally and repeatedly from sun, wind, waves and falling water. Geothermal sources, plant growth and waste materials in combustible or digestible forms are generally regarded as renewable but are not necessarily sustainable in any single location.
Government policy is to stimulate the exploitation and development of renewable energy sources wherever they have prospects of being economically attractive and environmentally acceptable.
In planning for the use of land for electricity generating installations the general aim is:
  • to ensure that society's needs for energy are satisfied, consistent with protecting the local and global environment;
  • to ensure that any environmental damage or loss of amenity caused by energy supply and ancillary activities is minimised; and
  • to prevent unnecessary sterilisation of energy resources.
The geographical position of Northern Ireland and its terrain offer favourable conditions for the development of certain renewable technologies. Sites proposed for projects will often be in rural or coastal areas which the Government recognises to be not only of intrinsic value but also major tourist assets. A careful balance will be needed between the need for renewable resources to contribute to Northern Ireland's energy supply and the need to conserve the environment and amenities of local communities. Harm to the environment, caused by renewable energy projects, must therefore be kept to the minimum.

Wind Energy

The following policies have been prepared to guide the development of projects to harness wind power. Policies for other forms of renewable energy projects will be prepared in future.
All proposals for wind turbines or wind farms or groups of wind turbines (including any associated ancillary development) will be assessed in respect of their implications for the visual, ecological and historic landscapes; the implications for agriculture; and the safety and amenity of local residents. Conditions will be attached to permissions, as appropriate, to safeguard particular interests. Permission will not be granted to turbine developments within, or in any location, where they would have a seriously detrimental impact on the amenity of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or any area designated for its conservation, scientific, archaeological or historic interest.
Permission will be granted for wind turbine developments in any other area indicated in an Area Plan as being of particular landscape, conservation or amenity value if it can be shown that the proposal would not significantly detract from the character of that area.
Exceptions may be made for single turbines or small groups of turbines which are intended primarily to supply the premises of the developer, provided that siting can be accomplished with no significant effects on the landscape or special character of the area.
Particular regard will be had to the degree of visual intrusion and noise disturbance to be expected, and the proximity of existing infrastructure such as airports, power-lines, railways and roads where public safety implications will be assessed. Consideration will also be given to possible loss of amenity through disturbance during site construction; shadow flicker when the turbines are operating and possible electro-magnetic interference with communications, including television reception.
Where appropriate, the planning assessment will include the cumulative effects of successive developments within a particular area.
In considering proposals, account will be taken of the extent to which development would provide research benefits which will assist the future assessment and consideration of wind energy projects.
The determination of proposals for neighbouring developments which might impair the performance of a turbine will take into consideration the threat to the public benefit of the power output from the turbine.
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