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Councillors ‘vindicated’ in wind farm report

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A PLANNING expert has said he disagrees with almost all criticisms made by a Minister for the Environment of Donegal Councillors who voted to impose restrictions on wind farm development.

The comments came from Mr Hendrik W van der Kamp, writing in a report to the current minister, Simon Coveney, which was seen by the Donegal News.

The Dutch man is the Head of the School of Spatial Planning and Transport in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

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He was appointed by Minister Coveney in June after the High Court in Dublin upheld an appeal by an Independent Councillor, John Campbell, against a decision by the former minister, Alan Kelly, to overrule restrictions placed on wind farm developments by Donegal County Council.

After Cllr Campbell’s victory in the High Court, Minister Coveney appointed Mr van der Kamp to examine the direction made by his predecessor.

In his final report,  Mr van der Kamp rejected all but one of Mr Kelly’s reasons for overruling the councillors variation.

 In his conclusion, he said the councillor’s variation did not impact on the ‘internal coherence’ of the County Development Plan.

He also said the changes did not make the plan inconsistent with national or regional policies or targets.

However, he did find that the variation is ‘premature’ in that it contravenes a government circular which advised local authorities to defer amending their existing development plan policies relating to wind energy.

Cllr Campbell could not be contacted at the time of going to press yesterday.

However, a source close to him claimed Mr van der Kamp findings proved that councillors “did nothing wrong”, adding that Cllr Campbell was vindicated in relation to his High Court action.

See today’s Donegal News for full report, or subscribe to our digital edition. 

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