Policy - Wind - Northern Ireland - General Resources


This page should serve as a guide to communities in Northern Ireland who seek community ownership of wind turbines and wind farms. It outlines the planning permission process as it relates to Northern Ireland’s specific policies on renewable energy development projects, as well as the process of incorporation, financing and fundraising for such projects in Northern Ireland. It assumes the desired ownership of one or more wind turbines by a small Northern Ireland community with no or limited energy and finance expertise. The primary purpose of these turbines would be to generate electricity for their owners, and secondarily to sell excess electricity to the grid and receive the financial benefits of the Renewable Obligation Certificate scheme. As the wind farm is to be owned and operated by a non-profit community organization, a Generation License from the Northern Ireland Utility Regulator is not required. Much of the text has been excerpted from official Northern Ireland Government documentation, all of which can be found online (see Important Links). While this document includes all of the most important aspects required for community wind development in Northern Ireland, it is not the only source of information you should consult; it is highly recommended that you read all of the included references in full and make an appointment with the Planning Office before submitting your application.


Initial Project Steps
Legal Status
Renewables Obligation Certificates
Obtaining Planning Permission
Application Process
Planning Permission Application Fees
Preparing an Application for Planning Permission
Archaeology, Natural and Built Heritage Considerations
Birds, Bats and Biodiversity
Technology Appropriate Location
Landscape and Visual Effects of Renewable Energy Development
Ground Water Conditions and Geology
Environmental Impact Assessment
Spacing between wind farms
Turbine groupings
Turbine height
Turbine siting, layout and design
Wind Resource
Other Infrastructure Considerations
Proximity to Roads, Railways and Power Lines
Electromagnetic Interference
Aviation and Radar
Shadow Flicker
Recreation and Tourism
Construction and Operational Disturbance
Connection to the Electricity Grid
Important Links
Additional References


The government of Northern Ireland, as part of its Strategic Energy Framework (2010), has a goal of producing 40% of all electricity from renewable sources by 2040. There are currently 378 Megawatts (MW) of installed renewable capacity, 355MW of which is large-scale wind. Between 1400MW and 1800MW will need to be installed to meet the SEF (2010) target. Community owned wind power has great potential to contribute to this goal, as well as alleviating fuel poverty, which is more prevalent in Northern Ireland than any other country in the UK.

Northern Ireland is a country of outstanding natural beauty and extra care must be taken in order to minimize the negative visual impacts of wind turbines on the landscape. In the context of wind energy development, Northern Ireland is divided into Landscape Character Areas (LCAs), which have different limitations on turbine heights and grouping sizes based on an assessment of the LCA’s visual and environmental sensitivity to wind turbines. Detailed instructions for these very subjective assessments is given in the Planning Policy Statement 18 Supplementary Guidance document, and only the most relevant sections will be included here.

Initial Project Steps

At the inception of a community wind project, many questions must be answered before any money changes hands, holes are dug, or contracts are signed. These include:

What is the proposed capacity of the wind turbine(s)?
How many people or parties are owners?
What legal status do we want to use?
How is this being funded?
How much will it cost?
Is there a good local wind resource that we can legally use?

All of the answers to these questions will depend on the needs and abilities of the community.

Legal Status

Your community group may already exist as a registered charity or other non-profit organisation, in which case you just need to determine the ownership model appropriate for your group. Technically a group of people organized under a common goal or initiative automatically becomes an unincorporated association, which has very few legal restrictions or regulatory obligations. In order to sign contracts or apply for grants, groups will need to move to something more legitimate, such as the following:

Community Interest Company (CIC) – Community interest companies are a type of limited company designed specifically for those wishing to operate for the benefit of the community rather than for the benefit of the owners of the company. This means that a CIC cannot be formed or used solely for the personal gain of a particular person, or group of people. CICs can be limited by shares, or by guarantee, have a statutory “asset lock” to prevent the assets and profits being distributed, except as permitted by legislation. This ensures the assets and profits are retained within the CIC for community purposes, or transferred to another asset-locked organisation, such as another CIC or charity. A CIC cannot be formed to support political activities and a company that is a charity cannot also be a CIC without surrendering charitable status. However, a charity may apply to register a CIC as a subsidiary company. More information is available here.

Cooperative – Run by and in the interest of members and pay out dividends to members, often on the basis of participation rather than financial investment. Each member gets one vote regardless of the number of shares owned.

Community Benefit Society (CBS) – Attracts investors interested in bringing dividends to the wider community. Can have an asset lock. Each member gets one vote regardless of the number of shares owned.

Charity - Takes a long time to form, but will typically get access to more money from philanthropic organizations and great tax breaks. They are also more regulated than CICs.

Joint Venture – Consists of two or more independent parties pursuing ownership, possibly your community organisation and a private investor. One particular benefit of this model is that one party may have significantly more expertise and capital while the other may have the available land and a large group of small investors but limited experience, making a partnership ideal.


Ownership of one’s own electricity production is one of the main reasons why communities choose to pursue renewable energy, so determining exactly who owns what and how much is very important. As an organisation you can have complete ownership of the project, ownership of certain turbines in the project, or purchase an ownership interest in a joint venture company that owns the project. Within that framework, it must be determined how shares are distributed among the community group members. This depends on the legal status chosen from above, and the relative wealth of different members of your community.


Wind energy development is expensive and, in order to ensure that the community project remains financially viable, a full assessment of investment, expenses, risks and income for your community group will be necessary. These include but are not limited to:

Required Investment
-funding preliminaries (first group meetings, speakers, web hosting)
-planning permission process and application fees
-professional consultants and advisors
-grid connection and application fees

-community investment
-investment from other parties

Operating Income
-power purchase agreements (PPA’s) and generation tariffs
-Renewables Obligation Certificates
-other income sources

Operating Expenses
-regular maintenance
-environmental protection
-other operating expenses

Financial Risks
-regulatory changes
-wind speed variability
-environmental disasters and storm damage
-inaccurate estimation of appropriate investment
-inadequate or variable investment from the community
-economic crisis
-delays due to project opposition, funding gaps, or application errors

Renewables Obligation Certificates

The primary regional level support mechanism for renewable energy development in Northern Ireland is through the issuing of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs). Ofgem mandates that a certain (and increasing) proportion of energy generated by licensed suppliers comes from renewable energy. ROCs are given to electricity generators for each renewable MWh produced, and to make up any target shortfalls, ROCs can be purchased from those who overproduce renewable electricity (or only produce renewable electricity, as would be the case for your organisation). Therefore the ROC program is a significant source of income for small-scale generators. The ROC legislation is under continuous review and the price per ROC as well as number of ROCs per MWh for specific technologies is changing on a semi-annual basis in order to reflect the constantly changing market. The current and proposed prices for wind power are as follows:

Type Current ROCs/MWh Proposed ROCs/MWh
Onshore Wind Up to 250kW: 4
Above 250kW: 1
No change up to 5MW
Above 5MW: 0.9
Offshore Wind 2013/14: 2
2014/15 onwards: 1.5
2013/15: 2
2015/16: 1.9
2016/17: 1.8
Year Price per ROC
2002-2003 £30.00
2003-2004 £30.51
2004-2005 £31.39
2005-2006 £32.33
2006-2007 £33.24
2007-2008 £34.30
2008-2009 £35.76
2009-2010 £37.19
2010-2011 £36.99
2011-2012 £38.69
2012-2013 £40.71

The Renewables Obligation is to be phased out of the rest of Great Britain by 2017 in favour of the Feed-In Tariff scheme. This, as well as an extension of the Northern Ireland ROC scheme, is still under deliberation by the Northern Irish government. Detailed information about the review process is available here.


There are at least 4,000 independent trusts and foundations in the UK giving about £3 billion each year to charities and community organisations. There are at least two community foundations in Northern Ireland. It is important to note that one cannot typically receive grant funding and Renewables Obligation support at the same time due to European Commission State Aid rules.

The Fermanagh Trust

A community foundation in Fermanagh County that makes grants and provides support for initiatives within the county. It is a vocal supporter of renewable energy and grant applications can be made online at the following website.

The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland

Gives over £1 million annually to community development projects. Specifically it uses the Eaga Community Fund to support community renewable energy projects and other environmental initiatives in Northern Ireland. Priority is given to practical projects that demonstrate the greatest environmental impact. Grant applications can be made online at the following website.

Big Lottery Fund - Village SOS

Funded by the National Lottery, it provides grants for sustainable community enterprises, but only for rural towns with a population of 3,000 people or less. Grants are between £10,000 and £50,000 pounds. Grant applications and additional information can be found here.

Supporting Communities Northern Ireland
A funding enquiry service enables community groups to access information on a variety of funding sources for specific costs or projects by accessing this website.

Government Grants

A database of Northern Ireland Government grant funds is available at the following website, however at the time of this writing (23/6/12) the site was under construction and thus unavailable. Your county council could be a source of funding for community groups, as many offer grants for sustainability minded projects.

GRANTnet is a free service for finding grant funding for charities and community groups.


Most commercial banks will not lend to non-profit organisations with limited cash flow, however there are some lenders who specialise in working with community groups, such as:

Charity Bank lends to community organisations throughout the UK, including renewable energy projects.

Triodos Bank has provided loans to 210 renewable energy projects.

The Community Development Finance Association provides an online service to help connect charities, community organisations and social enterprises with financing.

Obtaining Planning Permission

Decisions on planning applications in Northern Ireland are made by the Department of the Environment’s Planning and Local Government Group following statutory consultation with the local district or borough Council. The Department gives careful consideration to the views of elected councillors, but the decision to grant or refuse planning permission is the responsibility of the Department. This process is expensive and typically takes longer in Northern Ireland than in other parts of the UK. The primary document outlining the necessary steps and guidelines to obtain planning permission is Planning Policy Statement 18: Renewable Energy. Supplementary guidance on the appropriate siting of turbines in relation to the landscape of Northern Ireland is given by the Planning Policy Statement 18: Supplementary Guidance document. Further instruction is given in the Best Practice Guidance to Planning Policy Statement 18: Renewable Energy. All of these can be found on the Department of the Environment website as well as links at the end of this document, therefore only the most relevant and non-overlapping sections will be included here. As stated in following sections, generation of electricity from a wind turbine with a capacity below 50kw (considered to be “micro-generation”) will typically not require planning permission unless it is attached to a building or home, involves two or more turbines, or if the hub exceeds 15 metres.

Application Process

It is recommended but not required that you appoint a planning agent to help with the planning application, as it is very complicated and mistakes in the application will only cause delays and increase costs. These are the stages that planning applications go through following submission to the Department of the Environment:

1. Application received and checked
2. Planning fee receipted
3. Validated
4. Copies sent to statutory consultees (Roads Service, Northern Ireland Water etc.)
5. Advertisement placed in local press and / or neighbours notified
6. Representations / objections received
7. Site inspected
8. Report prepared
9. Report considered by Development Management Group Meeting
10. Opinion on application formed
11. Schedule prepared for consultation with local District Council
12. District Council consulted
13. Resolution of any issues prior to issuing a decision
14. Decision Notice prepared, signed and issued
15. Those who made representations / objections notified

This process takes a minimum of 8 weeks and can take much longer for large and complex projects such as wind farm development. To help the Department to notify the relevant neighbours you must complete the neighbour notification section of the application form, Form P1 Q24, or Form PHD and section E. These forms can be found on the DOE website. Failure to notify the appropriate neighbours will delay the application process. If your application is refused you have the right to appeal.

Planning Permission Application Fees

Single turbines and wind farms are subject to planning permission application fees, as per Article 5, appendix 1, Substitution of Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Planning (fees) regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005 :

(a) Where the site area does not exceed 5 hectares, £345 per 0.1 hectare

(b) Where the site area exceeds 5 hectares, £17,250; and an additional £103 for each 0.1 hectare in excess of 5 hectares, subject to a maximum in total of £257,250.

or applications requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment, there is a fixed charge of £10,290 in addition to the normal planning application fee (subject to the maximum for the relevant category of development).

Preparing an Application for Planning Permission

The developer should submit the following to accompany a wind energy application:

• 7 copies of the P1 Planning Application form, accurately completed, signed and dated;
• Planning Permission application fee (see above)
• 7 copies of the site location map with site boundary, including the access road and land for any junction improvement outlined in red;
• 7 copies of the site layout including access roads within the site, detailed plans to scale including turbines, details of bases, access roads, wind monitoring masts, sub-stations and other ancillary development. Details of finishing materials (e.g. on turbines, substations, control rooms, fences and other structures), landscaping etc. are required. Information will also be required detailing spoil storage and the location of road/site access, temporary contractors compound, borrow pits, on site-tracks, turbine foundations, crane hard standings, one or more anemometer masts, construction compound, electrical cabling and an electrical sub-station and control building of any construction.

All valid planning applications are advertised on a weekly basis in the local newspaper. Details of these applications are also placed on the Northern Ireland Planning website. The Planning Office will write to the occupiers of any buildings that adjoin the curtilage of your property. You may wish to inform your neighbour that you have submitted a planning application for a small-scale renewable technology if this is the scale of the project. It should be noted that all planning applications are available for inspection by the wider public through the Open File Correspondence Unit.

The Local Area Planning Office will endeavour to ensure that applications that are dependant on grant aid are carefully managed through the planning process to avoid any unnecessary delay. However, there are steps that applicants can take to enable planning applications to be processed more smoothly such as ensuring that planning applications are submitted with all the required information and the correct application fee.

If you want formal confirmation of whether your proposal would be lawful, i.e. that it does not require a planning application, you may apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness for a proposed use or development, paying the appropriate fee. However, if you are content to forego a certificate, you may write to your local area planning office seeking a ‘letter of comfort’ to confirm that the proposed development qualifies as permitted development. To receive a letter of comfort you should provide Planning Service with details of the proposed technology, and where you propose to install it within the curtilage of your house. Photographs and trade brochures should be included to help illustrate your proposal. You should note that this is not a formal determination on your proposal.

A dwelling does not benefit from permitted development rights until construction has been completed. If you are providing any of the small-scale renewable technologies within an existing building and this does not affect the appearance of the existing building, planning permission will not be required.

(From PPS18)

Development that generates energy from renewable resources will be permitted provided the proposal, and any associated buildings and infrastructure, will not result in an unacceptable adverse impact on:

(a) public safety, human health, or residential amenity;
(b) visual amenity and landscape character;
(c) biodiversity, nature conservation or built heritage interests;
(d) local natural resources, such as air quality or water quality; and
(e) public access to the countryside.

Proposals will be expected to be located at, or as close as possible to, the source of the resource needed for that particular technology.

Where any project is likely to result in unavoidable damage during its installation, operation or decommissioning, the application will need to indicate how this will be minimised and mitigated, including details of any proposed compensatory measures, such as a habitat management plan or the creation of a new habitat. This matter will need to be agreed before planning permission is granted.

The wider environmental, economic and social benefits of all proposals for renewable energy projects are material considerations that will be given significant weight in determining whether planning permission should be granted.

Applications for wind energy development will also be required to demonstrate all of the following:

(i) that the development will not have an unacceptable impact on visual amenity or landscape character through: the number, scale, size and siting of turbines;
(ii) that the development has taken into consideration the cumulative impact of existing wind turbines, those which have permissions and those that are currently the subject of valid but undetermined applications;
(iii) that the development will not create a significant risk of landslide or bog burst;
(iv) that no part of the development will give rise to unacceptable electromagnetic interference to communications installations; radar or air traffic control systems; emergency services communications; or other telecommunication systems;
(v) that no part of the development will have an unacceptable impact on roads, rail or aviation safety;
(vi) that the development will not cause significant harm to the safety or amenity of any sensitive receptors1 (including future occupants of committed developments) arising from noise; shadow flicker; ice throw; and reflected light; and
(vii) that above-ground redundant plant (including turbines), buildings and associated infrastructure shall be removed and the site restored to an agreed standard appropriate to its location.

Archaeology, Natural and Built Heritage Considerations

(PPS18 and PPS18 Best Practice Guidance)

In all cases careful consideration will be given to the scale, siting, design and layout of the proposal. The significance of environmental effects may depend on the type and scale of the renewable energy development and the sensitivity of the location. As the sensitivity of location between and within different designated areas can vary, each proposal will be assessed against the specific reason for designation, taking into account uniqueness, beauty, and character of landscape, habitat and species, physiographic, geological, heritage and cultural features.

Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage sets out planning policy for the protection and conservation of archaeological remains and features of the built heritage. The potential impact of the proposed wind energy development on the archaeological heritage of the site should be assessed. The assessment should address direct impacts on the integrity, visual amenity, and setting of individual sites and monuments or any location designated as an Area of Significant Archaeological Interest. It should also detail appropriate mitigation measures, such as through a desktop study and a field inspection where necessary.

In addition, an assessment should be made on the potential impact of the proposed wind energy development on the wider built heritage of the locality and its landscape context, where relevant. This is particularly necessary in the case of structures impacting on Listed Buildings; Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes; Conservation Areas; and Areas of Townscape Character.

Where a renewable energy development is likely to have an adverse effect on the natural heritage or nature conservation interests, the Department will require developers to bring forward mitigation measures, and where appropriate the scope for compensatory measures may be considered. Further information on this matter is set out in PPS 2 Planning and Nature Conservation.

Birds, Bats and Biodiversity

(PPS18 and PPS2)

Planning Policy Statement 2: Planning and Nature Conservation sets out the Department’s current planning policies on nature conservation that are taken into account when considering any development of land. As the development of a wind farm is a civil engineering project, there can be potentially serious implications for biodiversity. The major ecological impacts are most likely to be associated with site infrastructure rather than the turbines themselves – other than the impact of the moving blades upon birds and bats, and the advice contained in PPS 2 should cover all aspects of the development. With such extensive application sites there should often be opportunities for developers to mitigate for any potential ecological damage and preferably enhance current wildlife habitats.

Beyond designated sites and peatland habitats the impact of a wind farm on local nature conservation interests should be minimal. A typical wind farm will usually leave the land between the turbines unaffected. There is little evidence that domesticated or wild animals will be affected by a wind farm – indeed, there are examples of cows and sheep grazing right up to the base of turbines.

Applications to harness wind energy may be made in Sites of International Nature Conservation Importance, and such applications will be subject to the most rigorous examination. Developers should also note that applications that have the potential to significantly affect any such site as a matter of policy will be subject to an Appropriate Assessment.

Experience indicates that bird species and their habitats are rarely affected by wind turbine developments and the impact of an appropriately designed and located wind farm on the local bird life should, in many cases, be minimal. To date, the most common concern has been the risk of ‘bird strike’ i.e. birds flying through the area swept by the blades and being hit, causing injury or death. This is most likely to occur if a wind turbine is erected directly in a migration path, where there are high concentrations of particular species (i.e. birds feeding), or where there are vulnerable species. Most birds in flight can be expected to take action to avoid obstacles but different species will vary in their reaction and maneuverability. Most evidence to date suggests that the risk of collision is minimal. However, some areas are important for a variety of bird species protected under the EU and UK legislation (SPAs, SACs and ASSIs). These could represent potential constraints to wind farm development. As indicated in PPS 2 on nature conservation, the importance of complying with international and national conservation obligations must be recognised and wind farms should not adversely affect the integrity of designated sites. Protected species, such as hen harriers, occupy many areas outside designated sites and are protected across Northern Ireland. These factors have to be considered against the positioning and size of turbines, including the size of the area swept by the blades in relation to the air space used by the birds in the vicinity of the development.

Early consultation between the developer and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and RSPB is recommended. Most sites will require an assessment of breeding birds (between late March and early June) and wintering birds (September to March). Others, where potential ornithological sensitivities are higher, may require substantially more survey work, including studies of wintering/passage birds, raptors and moorland birds and detailed observations to quantify bird flight activity across the site. Among the other potential impacts to birds, loss of habitat, the deposition of spoil or hazardous substances from construction and operation, scrub and hedgerow removal should also be assessed.

The impact of the moving blades of a wind turbine upon bats and their ultrasound has also on occasion been raised as a concern, but there is little evidence to date to suggest that significant numbers of deaths or injuries will occur. Early consultation between the developer and NIEA and the Bat Conservation Trust is recommended. Some sites may require the submission of a bat survey to assess the use of the site.

The main potential impacts on habitats that can result in the reduction, or loss, of biodiversity are:
• Direct loss of habitat to the developments’ infrastructure, including turbine foundations, crane pads, buildings, roads, quarries and borrow pits;
• Degradation of habitats through alteration or disturbance, in particular arising from changes to hydrology that may alter the surface or groundwater flows and levels, and drainage patterns critical in peatlands and river headwaters and increase the risk of bog burst;
• Fragmentation of habitats and increased edge effects;
• Changes to land management brought about by improved access;
• Degradation and loss of habitats outside the development site, especially wetland habitats that may arise from pollution, siltation and erosion originating from within the development site.

Developers should ensure that their ecological advisers enter into early discussions with NIEA about the presence and importance of species and habitats in and around a proposed development site. Discussions should assess any potential impacts and the scope for mitigation in the design and layout. A Habitat Survey could usefully inform these discussions. In addition discussions with locally based groups such as the Ulster Wildlife Trust or RSPB could benefit the ecological assessment procedure.



Any development on active peatland will not be permitted unless there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest. Active peatland, comprising blanket and raised bog, ie peatland on which peat is currently forming and accumulating, is identified as a priority habitat for Europe in Annex 1 of the EC Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Fauna and Flora (the ‘Habitats Directive’).

The cutting and drainage associated with the development of, in particular, wind turbines and their associated infrastructure, has the potential to severely impact on the hydrology of a large area of active bog. In addition, development in peatland involves a risk of a mass of peat or bog movement, resulting in land slide or bog burst. Where development is proposed on peatland, the onus is on the developer to provide comprehensive information identifying existing, potential and construction induced peat landslide hazards.

Technology Appropriate Location


Renewable energy resources, such as hydro or wind, can usually be developed only where they occur and some degree of impact may be unavoidable. In relation to wind energy, this can only be exploited where wind speeds are sufficiently fast. By its very nature the wind resource is likely to be greatest in upland areas, which may be particularly sensitive in terms of their landscape and nature conservation value. It is also recognised that larger-scale wind energy developments are likely to be visible over distances. However, the impacts associated with such forms of renewable energy development may be considered acceptable for example because they are minor or because mitigation measures may be put in place.

Landscape and Visual Effects of Renewable Energy Development


The landscape and visual effects of particular renewable energy developments will vary on a case-by-case basis according to the type of development, its location and the landscape setting of the proposed development. Some of these effects may be minimised through appropriate siting, design and landscaping schemes, depending on the size and type of development proposed. To assist assessment by the Department proposals should be accompanied by objective descriptive material and analysis wherever possible even though the final decision on the visual and landscape effects will be made by professional judgment.

Of all renewable technologies, wind turbines are likely to have the greatest visual and landscape effects. However, in assessing planning applications, the Department recognises that the impact of turbines on the landscape will vary according to the size and number of turbines and the type of landscape involved, and that some of these impacts may be temporary if conditions are attached to planning permissions that require the future decommissioning of turbines.

The document ‘Wind Energy Development in Northern Ireland’s Landscapes’ (SPG), published by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency identifies landscape characteristics that may be sensitive to wind turbine development. This document provides supplementary planning guidance on the landscape and visual analysis process, and the indicative type of development that may be appropriate. While the SPG will be taken into account in assessing all wind turbine proposals it is not intended to be prescriptive.

Ground Water Conditions and Geology

(PPS18 Best Practice Guidance)

In assessing wind energy developments, the underlying geology is an important factor. Information on the following issues should be submitted as part of a planning application to enable adequate assessment of the impact of the proposed wind energy development and any mitigating measures proposed to counter the impacts:
• A geological assessment of the locality;
• A geotechnical assessment of the overburden and bedrock;
• A landslide and slope stability risk assessment for the site for all stages of the project, with proposed mitigation measures where appropriate (this should also consider the possible effects of storage of excavated material);
• An assessment of whether the development could create a bog burst or landslide hazard;
• Location of the site in relation to any area or site that has been identified as an important geological site or area and the potential impacts of the proposal on the geological resource.
• Location of the site in relation to areas of significant mineral or aggregate potential;
• An assessment of any potential impacts of the development on groundwater; and
• Details of any borrow-pits proposed on site should be shown on the planning application and details given where blasting is proposed, such as on the avoidance and remediation of land slippage (if so are there any impacts discussed or mitigation methods proposed).

In order to ensure that the above issues have been fully addressed, a developer should consult with the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland and obtain professional advice/source reports from suitably qualified geotechnical engineers, engineering geologists or geologists as appropriate. If upland sites are proposed, the application should be accompanied by a statement from a geologist, a hydro-geologist or an engineer with expertise in soil mechanics.


(PPS18 Best Practice Guidance)

Well designed wind farms should be located so that increases in ambient noise levels around noise-sensitive developments are kept to acceptable levels with relation to existing background noise. This will normally be achieved through good design of the turbines and through allowing sufficient distance between the turbines and any existing noise-sensitive development so that noise from the turbines will not normally be significant. As a matter of best practice for wind farm development, the Department will generally apply a separation distance of 10 times rotor diameter to occupied property (with a minimum distance of not less than 500m). In applying this separation distance, any significant impact on sensitive noise receptors should be minimised, particularly with the increasing number of proposals for turbines in excess of 100 metres in height. Noise levels from turbines are generally low and, under most operating conditions, it is likely that turbine noise would be masked by wind-generated background noise.

The report, ‘The Assessment and Rating of Noise from Wind Farms’ (ETSU-R-97), describes a framework for the measurement of wind farm noise and gives indicative noise levels calculated to offer a reasonable degree of protection to wind farm neighbours, without placing unreasonable restrictions on wind farm development. The report presents the findings of a cross-interest Noise Working Group and makes a series of recommendations that can be regarded as relevant guidance on good practice. This methodology overcomes some of the disadvantages of BS 4142 when assessing the noise effects of wind farms, and should be used in the assessment and rating noise from wind energy developments.

Environmental Impact Assessment

(PPS18 and PPS18 Best Practice Guidance)

Wind turbines fall within descriptions of development listed under Schedule 2, category 3(j) to the EIA Regulations. The Department of the Environment is required to screen applications for the need for EIA where the development involves the installation of more than 2 turbines or the hub height of any turbine or height of any other structure exceeds 15 metres. Further information on the need for EIA for the various renewable energy technologies is set out in the Best Practice Guidance to Planning Policy Statement 18 ‘Renewable Energy’. In addition, where such development is located in a “sensitive area”, EIA will also be required if it is likely to have a significant effect on the environment. Development Control Advice Note 10 Environmental Impact Assessment provides general guidance for prospective developers on this matter and highlights requirements in relation to procedures to be followed where projects in Northern Ireland are likely to have a significant effect on the Republic of Ireland.

Regulation 3 of the Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 defines a sensitive area as: an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI); an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); a National Park; a World Heritage Site; a scheduled Monument; or European Sites as defined in regulation 9 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc,) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 such as a Special Protection Area (SPA) or a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Where renewable energy development does not fall within the requirements of the EIA Regulations, the Department will still expect an assessment of the environmental effects of the development to be submitted with any application. The level of detail required should reflect the scale of the technology employed and take account of its location. For small-scale projects and micro-generation schemes a short report prepared by the applicant, will normally suffice. The most significant environmental effects in such cases will generally relate to the impact of any noise or emissions on neighbouring properties. For larger scale projects, developers will also be expected to outline the benefits arising from the development in terms of the energy produced in order to enable a balanced assessment of the proposal to be carried out.

The Department would also draw the attention of prospective developers of renewable energy projects to the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995. Under these Regulations the Department, as the “competent authority”, is required to undertake an Appropriate Assessment of any proposal that has the potential to significantly affect a European Site, either directly or indirectly. In such cases developers must provide such information as the Department may reasonably require for the purposes of this Assessment. Further information on Appropriate Assessment is contained in the publication: Habitats Regulations Guidance Notes for Competent Authorities, Northern Ireland Environment Agency September 2002. It should be noted that under the provisions of Planning Policy Statement 2, that Appropriate Assessment may be required for renewable energy proposals that have the potential to significantly affect other Sites of International Nature Conservation Importance. Special Protection Areas (including potential SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (including candidate SACs), Sites of Community Importance and Ramsar Sites.

Where wind energy proposals are deemed as EIA developments, the developer is also required to submit sufficient copies of the EIA statement to enable the Department to carry out consultations. The developer should contact the Department to ascertain the numbers of statements required and the format preferred. Failure to supply adequate environmental information to accompany planning applications for renewable energy projects, in particular large-scale schemes such as wind farms, is a key cause of delay in determining such proposals.

Specific information about Environmental Impact Assessments can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisr/2008/17/contents/made


(PSI Leaflet 12 and PPS18)

Micro-generation is widely accepted to be the production of heat (less than 45 kW capacity) and/or electricity (less than 50kW capacity) from low or zero carbon energy sources. In addition to the carbon benefits, increased use of micro-generation plays an important part in diversifying our energy mix and ensuring security of energy supply. It can allow energy to be produced and consumed locally, help alleviate fuel poverty (especially in off-gas network areas) and play a part in meeting renewable energy targets.

Some forms of micro-generation development currently benefit from permitted development rights under the Planning (General Development) Order (Northern Ireland) 1993 and therefore do not require an application for planning permission. Planning Service Information Leaflet 12 published in August 2006 provides guidance to householders on the extent to which small-scale renewable energy development could currently be permitted development. A wind turbine fitted to a dwelling or erected within the curtilage of a dwelling will require an application for planning permission. Where the proposed development is not permitted development, you will need to apply for planning permission.

In the majority of cases, the environmental effects of small-scale renewables development should not be a factor in relation to the application of permitted development rights or the processing of a planning application for such development. However, you should note that where a development involves the installation of more than two wind turbines, or the hub height of any turbine or height of any other structure for harnessing wind power for energy production exceeds 15 metres, the Department will require an environmental statement under the Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999. Permitted development rights do not apply to such development. You are advised to confirm this with your local area planning office.

Spacing Between Wind Farms

(PPS18 Supplementary Guidance)

Satisfactory spacing depends both on landscape character and on the degree of inter-visibility. Where several wind farms are visible together or sequentially they may affect landscape character and visual amenity at a strategic level. Retention of areas of undeveloped landscape is important. For example, where a small lowland wind farm connects larger upland sites visually, wind farm influence on landscape character may become much more significant and dominant. Appropriate spacing depends at least partly on landscape patterns and rhythms. Hence on an undulating upland ridge, wind farm spacing may reflect the pattern and frequency of undulations, whereas on a simple rounded upland ridge a cluster of wind farms may give a better landform fit.

As a rule of thumb, separation distances ranging from 6km (for smaller sites in landscapes with some enclosure) to 12 km (for larger sites in open exposed landscapes) are desirable to prevent the landscape becoming dominated by wind farms and to reduce inter-visibility. If small and medium sized wind farms are located less than 3-5km apart (to the outermost turbines) they may be seen as clusters and in areas of appropriate character may be accommodated as such within the landscape.

Turbine Groupings

(PPS18 Supplementary Guidance)

Landscapes with a simple, strong and mainly horizontal form are more likely to be able to accommodate large turbine groupings successfully. In landscapes with more complex and varied landform, large turbine groupings may have an undesirable ‘flattening’ effect on landscape character. Smaller turbine groupings are likely to fit best in small-scale and more intricate landscapes. Compact clusters of turbines may sometimes be used to create or highlight a focal point within the landscape, adding or reinforcing a vertical emphasis in the landscape, but such an approach needs to be used very selectively. It is only likely to be successful on small hilltops; on larger hilltops it could be overwhelming.

Turbine Height

(PPS18 Supplementary Guidance)

In general, turbine height should be proportionate to landform height. This will help to retain topographic distinctions and contrasts between upland and lowland landscapes. Hence elevated upland landscapes can often accommodate taller turbines than lowland landscapes, especially where the lowland landscapes have a rolling, varied topography whose subtle variations could be overwhelmed by tall turbines. However, extensive, flat, uniform lowland landscapes may also be able to accommodate tall turbines because of the lack of topographic distinctions and because the larger horizontal extent of such landscapes tends to diminish perceived turbine height. Current wind farms in operation or consented in Northern Ireland represent total heights from 60m to 125m.

Turbine Siting, Layout and Design

(PPS18, PPS18 Supplementary Guidance, PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

The settings of distinctive or valued landscape features may be especially sensitive to wind turbines. Such features may include dramatic landform features such as cliffs, natural features such as loughs or wetlands, and cultural features such as settlements and historic parks. Inconsistencies in turbine layout, height or design between adjacent wind farms can draw the eye and may cause increased landscape and visual impact. Proximity of turbines to existing intrusive structures such as electricity transmission lines may create a sense of visual clutter where the turbines and other structures are seen together. Turbine layouts can and should be influenced by landscape patterns, for example by drumlin patterns or field patterns. Functional relationships between domestic, community and industrial turbines and their landscape settings should be reflected in turbine siting, turbines being closely associated with, and in scale with, the farms, settlements or industrial plant that they serve. For wind farm development a separation distance of 10 times rotor diameter to occupied property, with a minimum distance not less than 500m, will generally apply.

Wind turbines need to be positioned so that the distances between them are between 3-10 rotor diameters (about 180-600 metres for a wind farm using 60m diameter, 1.3MW wind turbines) depending on the individual circumstances of the site. This spacing represents a compromise between compactness, which minimises capital cost, and the need for adequate separations to lessen energy loss through wind shadowing from upstream machines. The required spacing will often be dependent on the prevailing wind direction. All development associated with wind farm proposals, including the sweep from the turbine blades, will generally be expected to be contained within the boundary or the site curtilage, unless there is written agreement from adjoining landowners. Consultation with professional wind power developers is highly recommended.

In the case of domestic and community turbines the relationship to existing buildings and settlements and tree cover is especially important. Siting in open, exposed landscapes should generally be avoided because it may gradually and cumulatively give the surrounding countryside a more industrial character, as well as giving rise to visual intrusion.

Wind Resource

(PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

The energy produced by a wind turbine depends on the strength of the wind to which it is exposed. The simplest indicator of the wind resource available at a given location is the annual mean wind speed at the site (usually given at the hub height of the turbine). A machine located on a site which has an annual mean wind speed of 6 metres per second will typically produce only half as much energy as the same machine on a site where the annual wind speed is 8 metres per second.

For any given location the wind speed rises with elevation above the ground due to wind shear. The degree of wind shear (the rate at which the wind speed increases when moving vertically away from the ground) is dependent on the surrounding ground conditions; the higher the surrounding obstructions (e.g. vegetation or buildings) the greater the wind shear produced. Due to this, raising the hub height of the turbines, by mounting them on taller towers, can increase the energy capture at any given site. Current hub heights available to developers are between 50-125m.

As well as affecting the wind shear, surrounding obstacles such as woodlands and buildings will increase the turbulence in the wind. Higher turbulence levels in the wind adversely affect wind turbine performance and life expectancy and, as such, developers will look to position turbines as far away from obstacles as is practicable. Again, the use of taller towers can ameliorate this effect by placing the rotor in less disturbed air.

Assessing whether a particular site will harness wind power satisfactorily entails using historical meteorological data (available from the Meteorological Office) and information derived from anemometers placed on site. Anemometer masts are normally required on a site for at least 12 months; the longer measurements are taken the better the predictions will be. The measurements from the anemometers help to determine whether or not a candidate site is suitable and, if it is, the measurements help to determine the best position for the wind turbines within the site’s boundary. The masts should be approximately as tall as the hub height of the planned turbine. However, often when the mast is erected it is not known either if the site is suitable for wind farming or which turbine type would be most suitable. Masts are usually 25-80m tall. Planning permission is required to erect a temporary anemometer mast.

The mean wind speed at hub height (along with the statistical distribution of predicted wind speeds about this mean and the wind turbines used) will determine the energy captured at a site. The simplest way of expressing the energy capture at a site is by use of the Capacity Factor. This can be expressed alternatively as the actual energy generated by a wind turbine over the course of 1 year divided by the energy that would have been generated by a wind turbine over the course of 1 year had the wind been consistently blowing at speeds between rated and cut-out (typically 12-25m/s). Capacity factors in the UK may generally fall anywhere between 0.2 and 0.5, with 0.3 being typical in the UK. See the attached wind speed map of Northern Ireland in the appendix for more details.

Other Infrastructure Considerations

(PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

In addition to wind turbines, the required infrastructure of a wind farm consists of adequate road/site access, temporary contractors compound, borrow pits, on site-tracks, turbine foundations, crane hard standings, one or more anemometer masts, a construction compound, electrical cabling and an electrical sub-station and control building. Some of these features are permanent and others are required only in the construction phase and as such are temporary.

One or more anemometer masts may be required on-site. These are usually slender structures with guy supports, built to the hub height of the turbines, with anemometers and wind vanes mounted at different heights. Permanent anemometer masts may be supported by a lattice tower. Anemometer masts are needed as part of the project planning and design process but they are also needed post-construction in order to provide control information.

A construction compound will generally be specified in the proposal. While this is of a temporary nature, its location should be identified with the planning application.

The road access to a wind farm site will need to be able to accommodate trailers carrying the longest loads (usually the blades), as well as the heaviest and widest loads (generally the cranes required in erection). Amendments to existing roads required to gain access to site should be detailed in any wind farm planning application.

On-site tracks need to meet the weight and dimensional requirements detailed above. There will be an operational requirement for decommissioning and to gain access to the site for routine maintenance with light vehicles, as well as to reach the site with loads potentially as large as those initially used (as in the case of a major component failure).

Larger hard standings are also required next to each turbine to act as bases for cranes during turbine erection and component lay down areas. These hard standing should be constructed and finished in an appropriate material so as not to adversely effect the chemical composition of the surrounding soil.

The towers of the turbines are fixed to a concrete foundation whose surface will normally be flush with the surrounding ground. This foundation pad is likely to be square or hexagonal in shape and about 7-20 metres across. The diameter of the base of the turbine tower is likely to be 2-5 metres. The land area actually used by the turbines is therefore very small. On land where public access is allowed, people might walk right up to the base of the towers without interfering with turbine operation. On land normally used for agricultural purposes, agricultural use could continue right up to the edge of the foundations.

Proximity to Roads, Railways and Powerlines

(PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

Applicants are advised to consult at an early stage with DRD Roads Service for development affecting public roads. In the case of railway lines consultation should take place with Translink. Although wind turbines erected in accordance with best engineering practice are considered to be stable structures, they should be setback at least fall-over distance plus 10% from the edge of any public road, public right of way or railway line so as to achieve maximum safety.

Concern is often expressed over the effects of wind turbines on car drivers, who may be distracted by the turbines and the movement of the blades. Drivers are faced with a number of varied and competing distractions during any normal journey, including advertising hoardings, which are deliberately designed to attract attention. At all times drivers are required to take reasonable care to ensure their own and others’ safety. Wind turbines should therefore not be treated any differently from other distractions a driver must face and should not be considered particularly hazardous. The provision of appropriately sited lay-bys for viewing purposes may be helpful in giving an opportunity to view the wind energy development in safety; lay-by size should be adequate to cater for tour buses.

Wind turbines should be separated from overhead power lines in accordance with the Energy Networks Association standard TS 43-8 issue 3 ‘Overhead Line Clearances’.

Electromagnetic Interference

(PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

Wind turbines contain electrical machines producing power and as a consequence electromagnetic emissions. These however are at a very low level comparable to most domestic appliances. Provided careful attention is paid to siting, wind turbines should not cause any significant adverse effects on communication systems that use electromagnetic waves as the transmission medium (e.g. television, radio, telecommunication links, and police and emergency service links).

Since a large number of bodies use communication systems, and some of the users are commercially sensitive or of strategic importance, it is often difficult to obtain a definitive picture of all the transmission routes across a potential site. The Office of Communications (OFCOM) holds a central register of all civil radio communications operators in the UK and acts as a central point of contact for identifying specific consultees relevant to a site. OFCOM will identify any radio installations relevant to a wind farm site. Although OFCOM passes any enquiry on to other interested parties, who should respond to an application, this process is only partial and an applicant seeking planning permission would be well advised to make direct contact with any authorities/bodies which are likely to be interested – a list of potentially interested parties is given at the end of this Section.

It may also be necessary to consult utility providers and the emergency services such as the ambulance service and the coastguard. In particular the Police Service for Northern Ireland would encourage wind farm developers to consult them on all applications in order that the impact of their proposal on the TETRA broadcast facilities can be properly considered.

For proposals within 20km of the Republic of Ireland it is recommended that developers consult with licensed operators there. A list of these operators is available on the ComReg website at www.comreg.ie. In such cases it is also advisable to contact Irish mobile phone operators.

Aviation and Radar

(PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

Wind turbines may have an adverse effect on two aspects of air traffic movement and safety. Firstly, they may represent a risk of collision with low flying aircraft, and secondly, they may interfere with the proper operation of radar by limiting the capacity to handle air traffic, and aircraft instrument landing systems.

Risk of collision is likely to occur close to civilian and military airfields, and in military low flying zones. As appropriate, the Department consults with the relevant licensed operators of civil airports/airfields, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) on all proposals for wind turbine developments in Northern Ireland. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) can inform the applicant of any civilian airfields that are likely to be affected, but it is the responsibility of the applicant to consult the airfield management at the airfield in question. It is recommended that such consultation should occur prior to submission of an application and the applicant should take account of the airfield management’s requirements, which will depend on local topography and the preferred flight paths at the site.

In the interests of aviation safety, lights may be required on wind turbine development and is mandatory in all cases where the structure exceeds 150m high. In addition, structures over 91.4m (300ft) are required to be charted on aviation maps. Developers will be required to provide details of the development to the Defense Geographic Centre. There is currently no low flying training undertaken by the MOD in Northern Ireland.

Any large structure is liable to show up on radar, but wind turbines can present a particular problem as they can be interpreted by radar as a moving object, which is only intermittently seen (as the nacelle rotates to face the wind). There is a consultation zone and an advisory zone around every civilian and military air traffic radar but objections may sometimes be raised in respect of developments further afield. Consultation by the developer will also be required in respect of any meteorological radar. Developers therefore need to carefully consider this matter. Both the Irish Wind Energy Association and the British Wind Energy Association web sites give details of how adequate consultation can be achieved. In addition, developers may be required to contact the Irish Aviation Authority at the pre-planning stage with details of locations and proposed heights of turbines, to ensure that the proposed development will not cause difficulties with air navigation safety in the Republic of Ireland.

Because topography, intervening buildings and even tree cover can mitigate the effect of wind turbines on radar, it does not necessarily follow that the presence of a wind turbine in a safeguarding zone will have a negative effect. However, if an objection is raised by either a civil aviation or Defense Estates consultee, the onus is on the applicant to prove that the proposal will have no adverse effect on aviation interests. The CAA publishes guidance to provide assistance to aviation stakeholders when addressing wind energy related issues.

Shadow Flicker

(PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

Under certain combinations of geographical position and time of day, the sun may pass behind the rotors of a wind turbine and cast a shadow over neighbouring properties. When the blades rotate, the shadow flicks on and off; the effect is known as ‘shadow flicker’. It only occurs inside buildings where the flicker appears through a narrow window opening.

Shadow flicker generally only occurs in relative proximity to sites and has only been recorded occasionally at one site in the UK. Only properties within 130 degrees either side of north, relative to the turbines can be affected at these latitudes in the UK – turbines do not cast long shadows on their southern side.

Careful site selection, design and planning, and good use of relevant software, can help avoid the possibility of shadow flicker in the first instance. It is recommended that shadow flicker at neighbouring offices and dwellings within 500m should not exceed 30 hours per year or 30 minutes per day.

Recreation and Tourism

(PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

In many areas in Northern Ireland, recreation and tourism are a significant element of the local economy and can depend to varying degrees on the quality of the environment. It is not considered that wind energy developments are necessarily incompatible with tourism and leisure interests, but it is acknowledged that care does need to be taken to ensure that insensitively sited wind energy developments do not impact negatively on tourism potential. The results of survey work conducted in 2003 in the Republic of Ireland indicate that tourism and wind energy can co-exist happily.

For future wind farms, the judgment of acceptability based on landscape protection should provide adequate protection for tourism interests. The threshold of landscape protection is generally more sensitive to wind farm development than tourism, therefore if there is deemed to be acceptable within the landscape at the planning stage, there should be no unreasonable impacts on tourism interests.

The educational potential of wind energy developments should also be considered. For example, there may be scope for an interpretive centre on alternative energy resources to be located at accessible location in proximity to a wind energy development. It would be helpful if established long distance walking routes/amenity rights-of-way were identified and mapped to enable an assessment both of the extent to which recreational pursuits can be accommodated and facilitated either within or adjacent to wind energy developments. Local councils would be a useful contact point to provide information on this matter.

Construction and Operational Disturbance

(PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

The degree of disturbance caused by the construction phase of a wind farm will depend on the number of turbines and the length of the construction period. Public perception of the construction phase will derive mainly from physical impact and traffic movements. The traffic movements to be expected will involve:

• vehicles bringing aggregate to the site including concrete for foundations;
• vehicles removing spoil from the site;
• vehicles (which may be articulated) bringing turbine components to the site;
• the vehicles of those working on the site; and,
• the crane(s) to erect the turbines

Although construction traffic for a wind turbine development will essentially be no different from other developments, many turbines will be sited in areas served by the minor road network. In such cases, it may be necessary to impose suitable conditions on consents or enter a legal agreement with the developer to control the number of vehicle movements to and from the site in a specified period and, where possible, the route of such movements, particularly by heavy vehicles. Further requirements for strengthening bridges may also be required by the DRD Roads Service. Where culverting of any watercourse under site roads is planned, the provisions of Planning Policy Statement 15 Planning and Flood Risk will be taken into account. Consent from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Rivers Agency will also be required.

Connection to the Electricity Grid

(PPS18 Best Practice Guide)

A wind farm is likely to be connected to the electricity distribution network, just like any other power station, in order to sell excess energy to the grid. Small transformers are required to change the generating voltage (likely to be 690V) to a common site voltage, which is likely to be 11kV, 33kV or 110 kV. Depending on the model of turbine used, these transformers can either be housed outside or within the turbine tower. The output from the turbines in a wind farm is normally connected to a single point via underground cables.

Responsibility for the routing of electrical cabling onwards from the sub-station to the nearest suitable point of the local electricity distribution network is the responsibility of the District Network Operator, presently NIE (Northern Ireland Electricity). This will be achieved either by a standard 3-wire system mounted on wooden poles or by lines laid underground. It should be noted, however, that laying high voltage cables underground is much more expensive (around 6-20 times greater) than pole-mounted overhead systems and would be likely to be used only for limited lengths and/or in special circumstances. Whilst the routing of such lines by NIE is usually dealt with separate to the planning application for the wind farm, developers will generally be expected to provide indicative details of likely routes and the anticipated method of connection (over ground or underground). In addition DETI consent for electricity generation over 10MW will be required.

For connections over 20kW, a network connection and capacity study is required. This is a full technical appraisal including the NIE generator questionnaire and the full electrical technical specification of the generator being connected. This is only possible for customers who have obtained all planning permissions. There is also an option to commission a feasibility study from NIE to help develop a business plan and estimate total project costs. This is typically done before making a formal application to the DOE Planning Service. Feasibility studies do not reserve network capacity. All generation which could export onto the network will be required to comply with the Distribution Code. Site safety should be in accordance with HSE Guidance Note GS6 (Avoidance of Danger from Overhead Electric Lines) and HSE Booklet HS(G)47 (Avoiding Danger from Underground Services). Further information can be found here: http://www.nie.co.uk/Safety-Environment

Grid Connection Application Fees (includes 20% VAT):
-20kW or less __________ £600 (excludes Micro-generation)
-21kW – 150kW ________ £1,800
-151kW – 2000kW ______ £6,000

Grid Connection Costs for Construction (estimates):
-Up to 20kW (single phase) _________ £5,000 - £6,000
-50 - 99kW (three phase) ___________ £20,000
-100 – 150kW (three phase) _________ £40,000
-151kW or more (three phase) _______ £70,000
See http://bit.ly/LqIrDb for more information.

NIE Project Size Designations
Micro generation (up to 6.5kW single phase or 20kW three phase)
-one must complete the online registration form in order to receive a Generator Application Pack (G83).
-no application fee and no network connection or capacity study required

Small-scale generation (single generator connections between 6.6kW and 20kW single phase and 21kW to 5MW three phase)
-application fee required (see above)
-network connection and capacity study required

Large Scale Generation (for generation connections of 33kV)
-application fee required (see above)
-one must complete the online registration form in order to receive a Generator Application Pack (G59)
-network connection and capacity study required



In relation to renewable energy developments that become redundant, such as wind farms, applicants will be required to provide details on future decommissioning. This should include proposals for site restoration - generally to a condition that is as close as possible to its original state as appropriate to its location. The Department will use planning conditions (or a legal agreement where appropriate) to ensure the works necessary to restore the site to an agreed standard are undertaken.

For wind farm development, it is likely that the duration of the planning permission will be linked to the expected operational life of the turbines. However during this period, proposals may be forthcoming to extend the life of the project by re-equipping or to replace the original turbines with new ones. While there are obvious advantages in utilising established sites, such cases will have to be determined on their individual merit and in the light of the then prevailing policy and other relevant considerations.

DOE Wind Farm Planning Permission – additional required documentation

Planning Policy Statement 18: Renewable Energy

Best Practice Guidance to Planning Policy Statement 18: Renewable Energy

Wind Energy Development in Northern Ireland’s Landscapes: Supplementary Planning Guidance to accompany Planning Policy Statement 18: Renewable Energy

Planning Permission Application Fees

Planning Permission Application Form P1

Northern Ireland Electricity Microgeneration Application Registration

Northern Ireland Electricity Small and Large Scale Application Registration

Northern Ireland Electricity Feasibility Study Registration

Northern Ireland Electricity Distribution Code

Additional References

The Electricity (Class Exemptions from the Requirement for a Licence) Order 2001 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/3270/pdfs/uksi_20013270_en.pdf
A Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland (2010), Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, www.detini.gov.uk
Maximising Community Outcomes from Wind Energy Developments, Fermanagh Trust, http://www.fermanaghtrust.org/cms/uploads/1/Summary_REPORT.pdf
Ending Fuel Poverty: A Strategy for Northern Ireland, Department for Social Development, http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/ending_fuel_poverty_-_a_strategy_for_ni.pdf
Wind Energy Development in Northern Ireland’s Landscapes: Supplementary Planning Guidance to accompany Planning Policy Statement 18: Renewable Energy
Scenetwork Glossary, http://scenetwork.co.uk/glossary
Community Benefit Societies http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1077475850&typ...
Joint Ventures, Community Energy Scotland http://www.communityenergyscotland.org.uk/joint_ventures
Proposed Changes to the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, http://www.detini.gov.uk/5050.pdf
Energy Saving Trust, Find Funding, Northern Ireland, http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/northernireland/Take-action/Communit...
Planning Applications: Who Does What?, Planning Northern Ireland, Department of Environment http://www.planningni.gov.uk/index/advice/advice_system/advice_processin...
phone interview with www.horizonrenewables.co.uk
Processing Applications: Stages, Department of the Environment, http://www.planningni.gov.uk/index/advice/advice_system/advice_processin...
How Long Will it Take? Dept. of the Environment, http://www.planningni.gov.uk/index/advice/advice_system/advice_processin...
Why and Who to Neighbor Notify, Dept. of the Environment
Planning Application Fees, Dept. of the Environment, http://www.planningni.gov.uk/index/advice/fees_forms/planning_fees_-_not...
P1 Planning Application Form http://www.planningni.gov.uk/index/advice/fees_forms/form-p1.pdf