Planning Portal

Attwood welcomes monthly publication of New Renewable Energy planning applications

Published on Thu, 28 Mar 2013 by
The number of planning applications for renewable energy will now be published for the first time, on a monthly basis.
The provisional statistics will be issued in response to growing levels of public interest in this area, particularly with regard to single wind turbines and wind farms which have seen rapid increases in applications in recent years.

Alex Attwood said: “Renewable energy and technology is one of our single biggest economic opportunities. It has the potential to be a significant driver of our economy. I welcome the fact that these are going to be monthly updates on the number of renewable energy planning applications.

“In the last 10 years we have seen a 27-fold increase in renewable energy applications. Over the past two years, my Department has received a large number of queries seeking information about planning applications for all types of renewable energy. In the face of strong and continuing interest from elected representatives and the public in planning application for renewable energy proposals, I have today introduced a new statistical service on the Northern Ireland Planning Portal dedicated to providing up-to-date information on planning applications for renewable energy proposals.

“Northern Ireland has set a goal to generate 40% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. The imperative to achieve this target and develop the industry at the same time has great appeal. Wind Energy already makes a significant contribution toward meeting these important targets. Its role is set to increase as existing approved developments are constructed and commissioned and others receive consent.”

A set of pre-defined tables are now available providing, for the current year, a monthly breakdown of renewable energy applications and decisions by renewable energy type. In addition to overall NI level figures, equivalent information can be obtained at both Local Government District and Parliamentary Constituency level. A historic annual series is also available going back to 2002/03.

The information will be updated on the last Thursday of each month and can be accessed via the Planning NI website at

Notes to editors:

1. NI R.E. Applications 2002/03 to Feb 2013 – Selected Findings

a. The number of renewable energy applications received in 2002/03 stood at 31. Since then there has been an almost 27-fold increase to 822 applications received in 2011/12, the highest annual figure recorded over the period. The rapid increase in applications, particularly over the last few years, could be associated with an increased awareness amongst the rural community of the economic opportunities and grant assistance associated with renewable energy development.

b. The current financial year is still incomplete but by end-Feb 2013, 704 renewable energy applications had been received which is down by 4% on equivalent 11 month period last year when there were 732 applications to this point.

c. Since 2002/03, the proportion of applications that were for single wind turbines, the largest category of application, has increased from 71% to 78% in current year up to Feb 2013.

d. Of the 687 renewable energy decisions that were made in current year to end-Feb, 89% were approved (excludes withdrawn).

e. In total, between April 2002 and Feb 2013, there have been 1,541 applications for single wind turbines approved in NI (although note that approval does not mean that a turbine will be necessarily erected).

f. Omagh Local Government District (LGD) had the highest number of renewable energy applications in current year to end-Feb with 100, closely followed by Fermanagh LGD with 91. These two LGDs, taken together, account for over one-quarter (27%) of all NI R.E. applications in the current year.

g. Belfast and Carrickfergus LGDs received the fewest number of applications in year-to-date having received just four each by end-Feb.

h. Fermanagh and South Tyrone Parliamentary Constituency had the highest number (133) of renewable energy applications approved so far in 2012/13 (to end-Feb), this equated to 98% approved.

2. Renewable energy applications include wind turbines, wind farms, solar panels, biomass burners, hydroelectric schemes etc.

3. Applications for Renewable energy include ‘Outline’ and ‘Full’ planning applications but exclude ‘Reserved Matters’ applications, ‘Pre-application Enquiries’, ‘Trans-boundary’ applications, ‘Certificates of Lawfulness and Determinations’ as to the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

4. The figures also exclude renewals of planning permission, applications for annometers and minor modifications to previously approved schemes.

5. The records of all applications from 1 April 2002 to 28th February 2013 were transferred in March 2012 from a live database and inspected for consistency in coding before figures were finalised for publication.

6. The reports will be produced on a monthly basis, whereby the data is extracted on the 16th of each month and published on the Planning Portal website on the last Thursday of the month. The data series will run up to the end of the preceding month and the monthly data will remain provisional until the annual Management Development publication is released in June each year. No further monthly updates will be accompanied by a separate press release but the figures will continue to be reported on with commentary in the established Quarterly Management Development Bulletin series.

7. For further information on the statistics please contact

Department of the Environment
Analytical Services Branch
Department of the Environment
Room 4-03
Clarence Court
Belfast BT2 8GB

Telephone: (028) 9025 6058 E-mail: Website:

8. All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Press Office on 028 9025 6058 or for out of office hours, contact the duty press officer on pager 07699715440 and your call will be returned.
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