South Wicklow County Council has shot down plans to build a large wind farm in south Wicklow.
In July, ABO Wind had applied to Wicklow County Council for permission to develop the wind energy project, consisting of up to eleven wind turbines at Roddenagh, Kiladuff, Ballymanus, Preban, Ballinglen and Askakeagh.
The turbines were to have a maximum overall height of 150m to blade tip from existing ground level, a transformer at each turbine and a hard stand area adjacent to each turbine. The development was also to consist of a 38kV electrical substation and all associated infrastructure and works, up to two permanent/temporary meteoroligcal mast with a maximum overall height of 100m tip from existing ground level and all associated infrastructure and works, a temporary site compound and all associated works, new site tracks and upgraded site tracks and all associated works, two new access entrance to local road and all associated works, 20kV underground cables facilitating the connection of turbines to 38kV electrical substation and all associated infrastructure and works, land clearance including tree felling and vegetation removal, and all ancillary works.
An Environmental Impact Statement accompanied the application.
There was widespread op- position to the proposed development with Wicklow County Council receiving 324 submissions from the public in respect of the application.
These included submissions from: Ballymanus GAA, Askingap County Development Association, Aughrim and District Trout Angling and Conservation Club, Cllr Joe Behan, the Parents Association of Annacurrag National School, Richard More O’Ferrell and others, Wicklow Uplands Council, the Board of Management of St Brigid’s National School, 4As Hill Walking Club, Askinagap Group Water Scheme Coop Society, Cllr Shay Cullen, Mountaineering Ireland, the elected members of Baltinglass Municipal District, Deputy Pat Casey, Deputy John Brady and Cllr Brendan Thornhill.
On Monday, Wicklow County Council refused permission for the development on two counts.
In its decision it said that the council ‘considered the proposed development would form a significant visual intrusion in the landscape by reason of the height and spatial extent of the proposed turbines, which would be excessively dominant and visually obtrusive, when viewed from Listed Prospect No. 54, would have a pronounced effect on the landscape, altering its reading as a rolling rural landscape to a more industrialised scene, when the accumulation of both existing and permitted windfarm developments are viewed in the setting.
‘The proposed wind energy development would, therefore, seriously injure the visual amenities of the area, would impact detrimentally on this listed prospect, and would be contrary to proper planning and sustainable development.’
Secondly it said: ‘Having regard to the overall design, layout and positioning of the proposed site entrances taken in combination with the inadequate information submitted in relation to the provision of sight distances and the detailed design of the entrances, it is considered that the proposed development could endanger public safety by reason of serious traffic hazard. The proposed development would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.’
Cllr Pat Kennedy, who had made a submission, said he was delighted the development had been refused permission.
‘This comes after fierce opposition from local residents and is the second time that it has been refused. Let’s hope that the developers respect the wishes of the communities affected and the decision of Wicklow County Council and leave this landscape to the people who have looked after it for generations.
‘I was proud to have been able to stand with the communities on both occasions and I will do so again if needs be. Hopefully it will not come to that again.’