Landslide halts wind plant construction work in County Galway

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Work on constructing a 71 turbine wind farm in Ireland remains suspended while developers Hibernian Wind Power, a subsidiary of Ireland's Electricity Supply Board, await results of investigations into the causes of a landslide at Derrybrien in County Galway. Thousands of tonnes of peat bog and debris slipped down the mountain, rendering the road impassable and polluting a nearby river. The landslide was major news in Ireland in October and November, and prompted questions and debate in the Irish parliament. Hibernian's Brian Ryan claims the situation now appears to be stable. "The initial road closures have been reversed and the roads opened," he says. "There is still a lot of material on the side of the mountain, but it has been stabilised by a number of stone barrages. And some drainage work is being done to divert water away from the slip mass." Ryan says the landslide affected only a small area -- a few hundred metres -- of the wind farm site, which is covered in peat bog to an average depth of two metres. All the roads on the site had been constructed and 50 turbine bases had so far been installed when the landslide occurred. "We are hopeful that work will recommence in the new year, but it will be pending confirmation of the investigators' reports," he says. The company has learnt some hard lessons from the Derrybrien landslide. "In any future developments we would have to carry out a more extensive assessment of the risk of a landslide than we have traditionally done," says Ryan.

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