Geopark Comment On Proposed Local Windfarm Development
Almost a year ago the Board of the Copper Coast UNESCO Geopark were asked to comment on a scoping document provided by the consulting engineers to theBSB Community Wind Farm Project, and did so as follows.
Thank you for supplying the scoping document in relation to the proposed placement of wind turbines near Bunmahon and giving us the opportunity to respond at this stage of your project process. As you will be aware this district is part of a UNESCO designated Global Geopark (a relatively new category equivalent to the more familiar ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’). As the company responsible for managing the Geopark, our Board has discussed your proposal and would have the following observations.
The geological heritage of the Copper Coast Geopark is not limited to the bedrock. It also includes landscape features that indicate the outlines of bedrock throughout the district. In addition, the landscape elements that are the result of ice age erosion are also part of this heritage. Installation of turbines has the potential to block or interrupt views of these natural landscape features, adversely affecting the public access and enjoyment of these important elements of the Geopark’s geological heritage, whether observers are on public roads, walking the landscape or viewing from a distance, including from the sea.
The Board of Copper Coast Geopark Ltd considers that what would be advisable in this project, would be to:
1. Carry out a detailed visual impact assessment, showing the position of all proposed structures that would be visible in the landscape, from various vantage points, including the sea.
2. Carry out an assessment of the landscape features that would be in line of sight of all proposed structures and determine which are of significant heritage value and whether these would be affected in terms of vistas from key vantage points.
Please note that the Geopark have no statutory authority over planning matters but consider the above to be a minimum requirement prior to conducting the necessary public consultation process. We trust this helps in your deliberations.
CopperCoastUNESCO Geopark Board
Please note: neither the Geopark (a voluntary run Charity) nor its Directors receive any benefit from this project.