The Green Party has called for an investigation into how planners gave the green light for construction of a wind turbine close to an ancient monument near Rathfriland.
Acting chair for the South Down Green Party, Emma Cairns, said questions need to be answered about how the 150ft high turbine could have been raised at Knock Iveagh Cairn without any input from the department’s Historic Environment Division (HED).
“Questions need to be answered as why such a major development was treated as a ‘streamlined’ application, a process designed for everyday domestic alterations, such as garage conversions,” she said.
“Why was the Historic Environment Division, a statutory consultee whose role is to advise on the protection of historic scheduled monuments in cases such as these, not consulted about the application for the turbine?”
Calling on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council to take urgent steps to halt construction at the site, Ms Cairns added: “Once it is complete, revocation of the permission will not be possible. Discontinuance of the permission might be possible, but why is the council allowing the work to continue when the further along the construction gets, the higher any potential compensatory payment to the landowner/developer might be?
“It is utterly baffling that this has been allowed to happen and it certainly won’t give local people much confidence in the planning system.”