In relation to the ongoing campaigning for and against a windfarm on the Copper Coast, the Copper Coast Geopark has issued the statement below in responce to concerns about the UNESCO status of the area in case of the development of a windfarm on the Copper Coast.
There are eight UNESCO designated listings on the island of Ireland (three world heritage sites, three Geoparks and two relating to biosphere). Geoparks received this status in November 2015.
Geoparks differ from the other listings in that there is a formal Revalidation of status every four years; this entails an independent review by experienced experts on performance, financial sustainability etc. and is a detailed exercise. Following the review a Geopark may be given a clean bill of health (a green card), areas indicated for improvement within a defined period (a yellow card) or the status removed (a red card). The Copper Coast Geopark received a green card review in 2015.
A further difference is that Geopark status carries no additional legislative requirement other than that covered by local or national legislation - this also applies to planning legislation. Sites of scientific importance within the Geopark are listed and monitored by the Geological Survey of Ireland. Thus the UNESCO designation would not prohibit the development of windfarms within the Geopark unless they were to potentially damage designated sites of scientific importance. Many Geoparks have windfarms within their boundaries.
As a community-based organisation, Copper Coast Global Geopark doesn’t intend to take any position regarding wind turbines beyond that statement but if we do it will be entirely independent of any ongoing campaign.