7 The EIA and the Derrybrien planning process
7.1 There is immediate confusion about these documents because at least one of them should have been part of a statutory Environmental Impact Assessment but claimed to be produced on a voluntary basis. Part of the development appears not to have been formally assessed at all even though it was at the time one of the largest wind farm developments in Europe.
7.2 There are real concerns that the development has been enabled by the technique of ‘salami slicing’ whereby a large project is introduced in stages to make it seem smaller or to evade legal thresholds.
7.3 The EIA documents make it clear that they were produced to demonstrate the low environmental impact of wind warm developments. This is not consistent with the objective assessment of the facts.
7.4 There is no genuine scoping phase in the EIA reports and this is reflected in a superficial approach
adopted towards many topics.
7.5 Only noise and visual impacts are addressed in any detail. All other topics touch on only a small proportion of the issues, are supported by very little data or information from the published literature and fail to address even some of the most basic impact questions
. For example, there is no recognition anywhere that peat soils can be unstable and that plantation forestry can make them even more so.
7.6 A clear contrast is made between the type of information provided in the EIA reports and what would normally be required for a standard Slope Stability Report as required in the UK for potentially unstable ground.