Belfast Telegraph

Work on turbine at Neolithic site in Northern Ireland halted - broadband mast to come down

By Michael Sheils McNamee

A halt has been put on the building on a wind turbine close to a Neolithic monument outside of Rathfriland in Co Down.

The 5,000-year-old Knock Iveagh burial cairn is famed for its panoramic views, with visitors able to see Slieve Guillion, Slieve Donard, Lough Neagh and the Antrim plateau.

Planning permission for the erection of the turbine 100m from the site was originally given by the Department of the Environment in 2012 - although responsibility for planning has since transferred to local government.

A Temporary Stop Notice issued following a meeting of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council on Monday will prevent work at the site for 28 days.

In a statement on Tuesday morning, Save Knock Iveagh Action Group said it hoped the delay would "allow time for ABC Council to undertake a proper consutation process with the Historic Environment Division, who should have been a statutory consultee at the time of the original application".

The Historic Environment Division is part of the Department of Communities and works with individuals and organisations to protect heritage in Northern Ireland.

The Friends of Knock Iveagh Action Group said it was calling for an independent review of the planning process, which it says has "clearly gone so very wrong on this, and too many other occasions".

"If this development is allowed to proceed then it simply demonstrates that none of our heritage is safe," it said.

Last month a broadband mast was erected close to the site, with planning permission applied for retrospectively.

A decision has since been made to refuse planning permission.

The decision to refuse planning permission for the broadband mast near the site Credit: Planning NI


Work at the site to construct the turbine by NIE began last Thursday.

Ashleigh Coleman, from Friends of Knock Iveagh Action Group, told the Belfast Telegraph Armagh, Banbridge, and Craigavon Council was "standing by and ignoring" their obligations.

"This place has been respectfully cared for over thousands of years and the council need to be more responsible," she said.

The move by the council to issue a stop notice came after legal instruction was issued by Madden and Finucane Solicitors on Monday informing the council it was "required to provide an immediate unequivocal undertaking that it will take all necessary steps to ensure that no further construction work or operations shall be undertaken at the site" until the council meet to consider revoking the planning permission.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said: "On 23 October 2017, the Council served a Temporary Stop Notice on the grounds that it thinks that there has been a breach of planning control at the site and that it is expedient to cease the apparent breach immediately.

"The Council will consider the implications of this Notice before it makes any decisions."

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