Alliance Councillor Eóin Tennyson has said it is now incumbent on the Department of Infrastructure to use their powers of enforcement or discontinuance to address the erection of a wind turbine on the site of a scheduled monument at Knock Iveagh, and to meet any costs associated with this process.
He was speaking after a special meeting of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council on the matter.
Eóin said: “The site at Knock Iveagh dates back 5,000 years, is regionally significant and home to a neolithic scheduled monument. It is of the utmost importance that we act to protect and preserve the historical site.
“The Historic Monuments Council which advises the government on protected monuments has been clear that the turbine should be taken down, citing the adverse impact on a historical setting.
“The original application to erect a wind turbine there was passed following an apparent failure of the then Department of the Environment to consult with archaeological experts.
“Since then, the Planning Act has been implemented devolving planning responsibilities to local councils. This has created an invidious position whereby ratepayers in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon could potentially be left to pick up the cost of failings of a Stormont department seven years ago.
“This is clearly an unfair and totally unacceptable situation, particularly given that the cost of rectifying the matter could be extensive and local government is already facing huge financial pressures.
“ABC Council has now provided clarity on the matter: stating that the turbine is having an adverse impact on the integrity of the monument and on the visual amenity and landscape of the site.
“It is now incumbent on the Department of Infrastructure, as the successor to the Department of the Environment, to use their powers of discontinuance or enforcement to finally bring this matter to a close and for the Executive to ensure any financial burden does not unfairly rest with the residents of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon.”