Council calls temporary halt to Knock turbine.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

COUNCIL has served a temporary stop notice on the controversial Knock turbine plan.

Preparatory groundwork had already started for the 40-metre turbine site prior to the council's 11th hour reprieve.

Campaigners are championship for planning permission granted in 2013 for a turbine on the site of the historic Knock Iveagh Cairn to be revoked due to "omissions from the original application" with no reference to the site as a burial cairn and protected scheduled monument status.

A council spokesman says the notice was served due to an "apparent breach of planning control".

The full statement read: "On 23 October 2017, the council served a Temporary Stop Notice on the grounds that it thinks that there has been a breach of planning control at the site and that it is expedient to cease the apparent breach immediately.

"The council will consider the implications of this notice before it makes any decisions." It is understood councillors have been given legal advice that they could be liable for the costs of the project, which could be as much as 750,000.

South Down's MP Sinn Fein's Chris Hazzard called on council and the Department for Infrastructure to take urgent action and called for protection for the 6,000-yearold site.

The privately owned site was granted permission for a turbine in 2013 when planning powers lay within the Department of the Environment but archaeology experts were not consulted.

The Neolithic burial site on Knock Iveagh was made the subject of a council enforcement notice last month after a broadband mast was placed on the site without planning permission.

Following this, a retrospective planning application was lodged for the mast and the planning law breach caused political condemnation and for a lobby group to unite to protect the ancient site.

Residents in the area opposed to the turbine formed the lobby group, Friends of Knock Iveagh and they have condemned the development calling on council to revoke planning permission given "serious flaws in the planning process".

Planners have recommended that planning permission is refused for the mast citing that it would have an "adverse impact on the monument's setting which is of regional importance".

Also concerns were raised by planners over "unacce ptable damage to the visual amenity of the area" and a risk to the indigenous badger population.

Over 40 consultation letters were received and the application is due before full council next month.


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