Plans for turbine in River Lagan raise objections

River Lagan.

River Lagan.

Environmental concerns have been raised over plans to install a water turbine on the River Lagan near Lisburn.

The application to install a 120kw ‘Archimedes Screw’ Hydroelectric turbine on the river, at a site 240m North East of Lambeg Orange Hall, Church Hill Road, has been approved by planners.

At last Monday’s Planning Committee meeting, planners approved the application despite receiving eight letters of objection including one from representatives of the Lagan Rivers Trust.

One local resident contacted the Ulster Star to voice their concerns regarding the application.

They said: “This turbine is going to be built at the weir at Wolfenden Bridge in an area of rural beauty and may impact negatively on the wildlife including fish and kingfishers.”

Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told the Star that he has contacted the relevant council department about getting an environmental survey carried out on the application.

He said: “I understand the concerns of local residents and this is indeed a very scenic part of the River Lagan.

“I have written to to the Planning Manager at Lisburn and Castlereagh City requesting that an Environmental Impact Assessment be required as part of the consideration of this planning application so that planners and councillors can be aware of any detriment that may be caused to the local river environment if this hydro-electric turbine project were to proceed.”

One of the concerns raised by objectors is the impact on fish stock through reduced flow of the river and design of the proposal.

In response to this Planners state: “Northern Ireland Enivronment Agency and DCAL Inland Fisheries consider the application acceptable in principle.

“The proposed Q80 residual flow will be sufficient to provide water to the existing and new fish passes.”

Objectors also raised concerns about the amenity of the River Lagan being impacted by the turbine, however planners state: “NIEA has granted an abstraction licence that protects residual flow in the river.

“On this basis, amenity activities currently taking place won’t be affected.

Planners also state: “The application has been assessed by a number of statutory consultees who have not raised any concerns regarding cumulative impacts in relation to other similar applications.

The agent for the proposal declined to comment.