Draft PPS 18: Renewable Energy
Annex 1 Wind Energy Planning Issues: General
A34. All development involving wind turbines currently requires planning permission under the Planning (Northern Ireland) (Order) 1991. The Department has recently consulted about new permitted development rights for small scale renewable energy development associated with dwelling houses. However, domestic wind turbines typically have an output of only up to 2.5kW.
A35. The successful development of wind energy always entails detailed consideration of a wide range of factors and the developer may need to provide information on some if not all of the following matters:
- Overall economic and social benefits attributed to the scheme;
- Potential impact of the project on nature coonservation, to include direct and indirect effects on protected sites, on habitats and species of ecological sensitivity and biodiversity value and, where necessary, management plans to deal with the satisfactory co-existence of the wind energy development and the particular species/habitat identified;
- Potential impact of the project on the built heritage including archaeology;
- Ground conditions, including peat stability;
- Site drainage, sedimentation and hydrological effects, such as water supply and quality and watercourse crossings;
- Size, scale and layout and the degree to which the wind energy project is visible over certain areas;
- Landscape character and visual impact issues including ancillary development, such as access roads;
- Local environmental impacts including noise, shadow flicker, electromagnetic interference, etc;
- Adequacy of local access road network to facilitate construction of the project and transportation of large machinery and turbine parts to site;
- Information on any cumulative effects due to other projects, including effects on natural heritage and visual effects;
- Information on the location of quarries to be used or borrow pits proposed during the construction phase and associated remedial works thereafter;
- Temporary and/or permanent storage, disposal or elimination of waste/surplus material from construction/site clearance, particularly significant for peatland sites; and
- Decommissioning considerations.
A36. Although in the past most windfarm development tended to be located in upland areas due to higher wind speeds, technological advances, and changes to the renewable electricity markets have resulted in wind speed being less pivotal in the site selection process. Generally, whether there is a reasonable prospect of obtaining planning
A37. The planning system exists to regulate the development and use of land in the public interest. The material question is whether the proposal would have an unacceptable detrimental effect on the locality generally, and on amenities that ought, in the public interest, to be protected. Each planning application will be considered on its own merits, and the argument that granting permission might lead to another application will not be sufficient grounds for refusal.