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ECOFACT ECOFACT | Major Midlands wind farm gets planning permission

Major Midlands wind farm gets planning permission

Offaly County Council have just granted planning permission for a major wind energy development in the Irish Midlands near Cloghan, Co Offaly. ECOFACT prepared the Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology chapters of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this proposed wind farm development. We also prepared the Natura Impact Statement.

ecology-survbey wind-energy Greenland-white-fronted-goose2

The Cloghan wind farm site is located 1.5km south east of Cloghan Village and 13km north east of Birr. The proposed wind farm comprises of 10 wind turbines in the townland of Stonestown, Kilcamin, Crancreagh & Derrinlough. Our client was Galetech Energy Developments who are also delighted with this favourable decision.

ECOFACT undertook extensive fieldwork over a one-year period to inform the EIS and NIS for this proposed wind farm. Surveys included an extended wintering bird survey, which included an assessment of regional movements of Whooper Swans and Greenland-White fronted geese. We also undertook a detailed breeding bird survey, and mapped nesting sites of lapwing and other species to 1km of the site.  A summer time bat activity survey, and detailed terrestrial mammal surveys were completed. We also included habitat surveys and rare plant surveys in our assessments.  Amphibian surveys (for newts and frogs) were also completed. Moreover, a 13 site fisheries survey of the Little River and other watercourses was undertaken, with specialist assessment of lampreys and juvenile salmonids. We also completed detailed surveys of aquatic and terrestrial macroinvertebrates, including specialist surveys for butterflies, whorl snails and white-clawed crayfish. Our impact assessment included collision risk modelling for both Greenland white-fronted geese and Whooper swans. We prepared detailed mitigation, including habitat enhancement measures, water quality protection and bird monitoring.

DSCN4075 Terrestrial-invertebrate-survey Whoopers on field

We undertook extended consultation with Birdwatch Ireland, National parks and Wildlife and Inland Fisheries Ireland staff. Indeed, so detailed were the ecological surveys completed, and so extensive were the assessments we provided that the Further Information Request (FIR)  from Offaly County Council did not contain a single reference to ecology. This is the standard that ECOFACT ecologists work to on all of our projects.

Overall the conclusion of our assessment was that the residual impacts on the key ecological receptors including designated sites, habitats, flora and fauna were reduced down to non-significant levels. We concluded that the wind farm proposal would actually bring ecological benefits to the site, and also improve the monitoring of regional bird populations. We are delighted that Offaly County council agreed with our assessments.

ECOFACT is Ireland’s largest independent  ecological consultancy, and we have unparalleled experience in assessing the ecological impacts of wind farm developments. For a successful outcome in your wind farm planning application, chose Ireland’s leading ecology team.

2 Responses to “Major Midlands wind farm gets planning permission”

  1. [...] wind energy projects.  Projects we completed last year included extensive winter bird surveys for Cloghan Wind Farm and Seven Hills Wind Farm in the Irish Midlands. Both of these projects now have full planning [...]

  2. [...] wind energy projects.  Projects we completed last year included extensive winter bird surveys for Cloghan Wind Farm and Seven Hills Wind Farm in the Irish Midlands. Both of these projects now have full planning [...]