Observation in Support of Variation No 2 of the County Development plan County Donegal 2012-2018 (as varied).
Dear Mr. Kelly,
I write in support of the variation motions A and B as drafted and subject to this public consultation as advertised in the local press. I wish to endorse the proposed variation of the Plan for the removal of the six Sub Basin Districts designated for the freshwater pearl mussel as per the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Regulations 2009.
In support of this I draw attention to the Sub Basin Management Plans which identify silt and nutrients as major negative influence on these catchments population of freshwater pearl mussel. The improvements needed for the various catchments are identified in the Management Plans, as is the restoration of juvenile habitats to appropriate condition by simultaneously reducing nutrient and silt inputs to these catchments. Given the sensitivity of this protected species to any form of pollution or siltation, and in circumstances where it is acknowledged that high water quality within the catchments are essential for the survival of this ecology, I feel that the acceptance of the principle of a wind farm in these areas, as is currently allowed in the County Development Plan, is at odds with the Conservation Objectives set out in the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Regulations 2009, the Conservation status of these Sub Basins under the terms of the Habitat's Directive, and the principles of conservation of the natural environment and adherence to the various Directives, compliance with which is a stated objective of the County Development Plan.
Donegal is noted for its local environment and there are a total of 74 European sites within the County Development Plan Area. I ask that the variation for the removal of these Sub Basin Districts be carried by the Council.
I also wish to support Variation B on the set back of turbines at ten times the tip height from residential properties and other places of gathering. This is to reflect the need to protect residential amenity and give certainty to the rural population of the County that their entitlement to a peaceful environment and the enjoyment of their property will be respected. The issue of noise generated by turbines and documented cases of shadow flicker affecting homes etc within the county, has received a lot of attention over the past two years.
It is fitting and proper that the local authority be mindful of these concerns, and that in developing their policy for wind farm projects in the County they will seek to strike a balance between the needs of the rural population and that of development. I ask that this motion be also carried by the Council in the interests of residential amenity and the safeguarding of public health.