Key environmental considerations
The key environmental impacts due to the construction and operation of wind energy installations, and associated transmission lines and access roads, include:
- habitat damage or fragmentation (including bogs, heathlands, woodlands and low nutrient grasslands)
- reduced biodiversity
- altered surface drainage patterns and interruption to groundwater flow paths
- modification to waterways including alterations to existing crossing structures such as culverts and bridges within the site and along transport routes
- major release of silt to rivers or a pollution incident resulting from the release of inorganic compounds effecting water quality, aquatic ecosystems and fisheries
- potential for bird / bat strike from rotating blades
Landscape and visual
- perceived change to the landscape character and visual amenity of the area
- degradation of the scenic value/landscape setting of designated areas
DAERA normally only provides advice on the impacts of developments located within the boundary of the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site or its distinctive Landscape Setting or for major/regionally significant Wind Farm developments located within the boundary of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty(AONB).
The following lists the documents/information that may be required to ensure that DAERA can provide a substantive response:
- number of turbines
- individual positions
- overall height and blade diameter
- hardstanding dimensions
- access and internal tracks including proposed culverts/bridges
- transmission lines
- haul route
- site drainage plan (not normally required for single turbine developments)
- priority/protected species
Species surveys requested typically include bats and birds.
The need for surveys should be informed by a preliminary ecological assessment and biological records check. The Biodiversity Checklist can be used for the initial assessment process.
For single (small scale) turbines, a desk top water features survey will normally suffice.
For Wind Farms, a hydrological/hydrogeological survey and assessment is normally required.
Landscape and visual impact
DAERA normally only provides advice on the impacts of developments located within the boundary of the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site or its distinctive Landscape Setting or for major/regionally significant Wind Farm developments located within the boundary of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
- Surface waters pollution prevention measures
- Outline habitat management/mitigation plan
- Species mitigation
- Windfarm EIA Scoping advice - Wind farm proposals with 2 or more turbines may require the submission of an Environmental Statement. The document provides advice on the information which would likely be required in support of a wind energy application.
- Northern Ireland Environment Agency: Development management team advice note on active peatland and PPS18
- Bats & Development - Please note since the publication of the bats and development booklet recent research shows that wind turbines have the potential to impact bats. This information applies to the table on page 24 of the booklet.
- Wind farms and groundwater impacts
- Water Features Survey