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The Supreme Court will consider a challenge against An Bord Pleanála's decision to grant planning permission for an electricity-generating wind farm in Co Tipperary after ruling that the case raises issues of public importance.
The Supreme Court has agreed to consider a challenge to An Bord Pleanála’s granting of planning permission for a wind farm in Co Tipperary after ruling that the case raises issues of public importance.
In their proceedings, the applicants had sought to quash the board’s granting of a 10-year permission to ESB Wind Development and Coillte to build the wind farm. They claim the permission breaches the EU habitats directive and the EU environment impact assessment directive.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton ruled the permission must be quashed after finding that the process under which An Bord Pleanála had decided relevant issues concerning compliance with two European Directives - the Habitats Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive - did not comply with Irish law.
A challenge to a €120 million wind farm in Co Offaly by local residents – who claimed it would affect their mental health, property prices and the habitat of the Whooper swan – has been dismissed by the High Court.
“This information came from concerned local residents but there appears to be no official acknowledgement by the owners of the development nor has the Council or the HSA been informed. This is the usual sequence of events with turbine accidents and we have had a few in the County in recent years.
A number of investigations are believed to be underway after a blade on a huge wind turbine near Drumkeen “disintegrated” at the weekend. ...It is believed the turbine in question was struck by lightning.
In its decision, the board said it considered that a wind farm of the scale, extent and height proposed would visually dominate this populated rural area, would seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity, would interfere with the character of the landscape and would not be in accordance with the overall development objectives of the Meath County Development Plan.
One family said that the wind farm near Clonfert would result in constant noise, flickering as well as destroying their views. The turbines, they say, would also interfere with their internet coverage. The planning application is for a ten-year permission to construct a wind farm at Lisbeg in Clonfert.
A planning application for wind turbines on a hill near Clonroche has led to concern that further wind farm developments will be built in the New Ross district.
A government minister has not ruled out moving people away from areas where wind farms may be built. Energy Minister Alex White says: "That has happened in other countries - I've seen that happening in other countries".
Nine controversial wind farms have been refused or blocked in the past 18 months because they were planned for areas which are designated as wild land. The developments would have seen more than 192 more turbines erected in some of the more remote and rugged parts of the country.
Lightning knocked out one of SSE's wind turbines at SSE's Richfield Wind Farm in Bridgetown during the run up to Christmas.
It is understood that the man had been working on the €145m Meenadreen wind farm extension project when the tragedy occurred.
While Mr White insists Ireland has obligations to reduce its carbon emissions and must drive ahead with new turbine projects, Mr Kelly is under pressure to ensure communities can keep new windfarms at a distance from their properties.
But Mr Kelly said he is confident that the government will produce details of a new set back distance for wind turbines prior to the General Election. The new rules are expected to increase the minimum distance between turbines and private residences. The current distance is 500m.
There are other dark clouds for wind energy. A High Court case on noise nuisance is due for a trial date in the new year. Seven families from the North Cork village of Banteer are suing the operator of a windfarm in their area, which the families claim has adversely affected their quality of life, principally through noise nuisance. The case will be closely observed. Other parties in Roscommon and Wexford, who claim to have been subjected to similar intrusions, are waiting in the wings.
Minister faces backlash from protesters who want 500m distance from homes changed to 2km
A County Down man has said his home will be ringed by wind turbines if a council approves all the applications it has before it. Bert Spiers, from Ballyhalbert, will have three in a field behind his house and two others to the side and front if the applications are all passed.
The company yesterday refused to comment on the nature of the threat against its staff or whether it would be returning to the site. Five wind turbines are planned for the site, according to an approved planning application.