Tuesday 24 October 2017 12:26:25 PM

First Flight Wind Sets Up Advisory Working Groups
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FIRST Flight Wind, the consortium selected to develop Northern Ireland’s first offshore wind farm off the Co. Down coast, has established six technical advisory working groups.

The First Flight Wind Socio-Economics and Tourism Working Group met recently at the Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle.

The First Flight Wind Socio-Economics and Tourism Working Group met recently at the Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle.

Each of these working groups, focussing on a specific topic area, will provide a constructive forum for the discussion of issues and exchange of information as part of the overall environmental impact assessment of the proposed project.

Four of the working groups met for the first time recently, focussing on the following areas: marine ecology; seascape, landscape and visual impact; socio-economics and tourism; and shipping and navigation.

The groups will comprise statutory bodies, local councils, relevant associations and organisations and individual specialists and will meet every six months. The two remaining working groups will cover commercial fisheries and the arrangements for grid connection and have already met this year.

Dr Carolyn Heeps, Project Development Manager of First Flight Wind said: “Our overall aim is to design a project that can be a positive asset to the local area and Northern Ireland. To achieve this we need to undertake a robust and comprehensive assessment of the potential impacts of the project.

“These groups will help to ensure that all relevant issues will be raised for inclusion within the assessment process. I would like to thank all those who are participating for their valuable input and contribution.”

First Flight Wind is a consortium comprising B9 Energy, DONG Energy and RES.

The following organisations were invited to participate in the working groups:

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute * Ards Borough Council
 * Banbridge District Council * 
Belfast Metropolitan College
 * British Marine Aggregates Producer’s Association
 * British Trust for Ornithology 
Chamber of Shipping * 
Commissioner of Irish Lights
 * Copeland Bird Observatory
 * Council for Nature Conservation & Countryside
 * The Crown Estate
Cruising Association
Department for Transport (UK)
 * Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport (Ireland)
Department of Agriculture & Rural Development * (Loughs Agency)
Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment
 * Department of the Environment (NIEA)
 * Department of Regional Development
 * Down District Council * 
Ecological Surveys and Impact Assessment *
Greenore Port Authority
* Invest NI
 * Irish Cruising  * Club
Irish Sailing Association
 * Irish Sea Anglers Federation
 * Irish Whale and Dolphin Group
 * Kilkeel Development Association
 * Lisburn City Council * Louth County Council
 * Loughs Agency
 * Maritime and Coastguard Agency * (NI)
Maritime and Coastguard Agency (UK)
 * Mourne Heritage Trust
 * National Trust
 * Newcastle Chamber of Commerce
 * Newry & Mourne District Council
 * Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency * 
NI Coastal & Marine Forum
 * NIEL
* NI Fishery Harbour Authority
 * NI Marine Taskforce
 * NITB
RNLI * 
Royal County Down Golf Club
 * The Royal Yachting Association
 * RSPB
 * Seatruck
 * South Eastern Regional College * 
Southern Regional College
 * Stena Line * 
Strangford Lough & Lecale Partnership
 * Ulster Society for the Protection of the Countryside  * 
Ulster Wildlife Agency * 
Ulster Wildlife Trust
 * Warrenpoint Harbour Authority
 * Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust *