Mallon calls public inquiry for Gruggandoo Wind Farm in AONB

Date published: 27 March 2022

Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon has today confirmed that she intends to call a public inquiry for the Gruggandoo Wind Farm in the Mournes.

Image of DfI Minister Nichola Mallon
DfI Minister Nichola Mallon

This follows the Minister’s careful consideration of her officials’ development management report which recommended that the application should be refused. The application proposes eight turbines with an overall height of 142.5 metres within the Mournes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Minister Mallon said:

“There has been a significant level of public representation in relation to the proposal, both for and against it.  I am a huge advocate for renewable energy that will create sustainable infrastructure for future generations. Green infrastructure represents a real opportunity for tackling the climate emergency and helping boost the economy but this should never be at the cost of the surrounding environment.

 “In this case eight wind turbines are proposed within the Mournes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There were concerns among my officials that the proposal would have an unacceptable adverse impact on visual amenity and landscape character due to the sensitivity of the landscape within the Mournes AONB and Special Countryside Area. There were also concerns that the development would adversely impact on a specified tourism asset, and impacts on the integrity of the setting of a regionally significant scheduled monument in the locality.

 “I have carefully considered the recommendation of my planning officials including the potential significant environmental, social and economic benefits that could accrue from such a development including the contribution it could make towards achieving the ambitions of the Energy Strategy and forthcoming Climate Change Bill. However, given the range of important matters at stake I believe that further discussion of the issues at a public inquiry and the benefit of an independent report from Planning Appeals Commission would assist in coming to a final decision on this application.”


Notes to editors: 

  1. Planning Reference: P/2015/0218/F
  2. Proposal: Construction of a wind farm comprising 8 no. wind turbines (tip height not exceeding 142.5 metres), and electrical substation and control building, construction of internal access tracks, spoil deposition areas, temporary construction compound, formation of passing bays on Mullaghgarriff Road, delivery route improvements at Rostrevor Road, junction improvements at Rostrevor/Mullaghgarriff Road and all associated ancillary works.
  3. Location: Lands approximately 650m south west of 40 Mullaghgarriff Road, Hilltown, Newry in the townlands of Gruggandoo, Grugganskeagh and Mullaghgarve BT34 5LT.                   
  4. 4165 objections were received in relation to this application and 831 letters in support of the application were received.
  5. The Department will request that the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) convene a public inquiry. Where a public inquiry is held the PAC prepares an independent report and, following consideration of the report a final decision can be made by the Department.
  6. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at 
  7. The Executive Information Service operates and out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800 hours and 0800 hours Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.  
  8. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure.

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