Rising number of wind turbine plans across Mid Ulster

Wind farm landscape: Turbines in Tyrone produce more electricity than any other county in Northern Ireland
Wind farm landscape: Turbines in Tyrone produce more electricity than any other county in Northern Ireland
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THE number of windfarms on Mid-Ulster’s hills has soared over the past year, according to figures released by the Department of Environment.

A total of 60 single and multiple wind turbine applications were given the go-ahead in the Magherafelt and Cookstown Council areas.

Cookstown showed the greatest growth in wind turbines jumping from 13 successful applications in 2012 to 39 in the past year.

The number in Magherafelt went up from 13 to 21 for the same period.

And according to the DoE’s latest figures there were a total of 112 applications passed in the South Tyrone and Fermanagh areas - 41 of them in the Dungannon area alone.

The figures reveal that the western half of the Province, particularly the Sperrins, is bearing the burden of producing wind power.

First Minister Peter Robinson has warned that the Assembly plans to accelerate the development of windfarms to meet the 2020 target for renewable energy production.

“There is the capacity for us to become exporters of electricity into Britain and international grids,” he said.

Not all the applications have received a smooth transition through planning.

In South Derry, opposition is still strong to plans to erect a turbine at the ancient pilgrimage site at Lough Patrick, near Draperstown. Environment Minister Alex Attwood is still to rule on the application.