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The Supreme Court has overturned permission for a wind farm in Co Clare due to An Bord Pleanála’s failure to make “complete, definitive and precise” findings required by European law for a valid Appropriate Assessment of the project.
Two large Irish wind farm portfolios have been put on the market by their owners.
The Court of Justice of the EU has upheld arguments by opponents of a wind farm concerning the extent of Coillte’s environmental responsibilities in relation to grid connection works for a wind farm in Co Laois.
An appeal to overturn a decision by Tipperary Co. Council blocking development of a windfarm in Hollyford, west Co. Tipperary, has been rejected by An Bord Pleanála.
Planning regulation and inspection around wind- farms is expected to come under further scrutiny following claims that a wind- farm in Co Waterford was built with larger blades than allowed for.
The story of the Harris family highlights the fact that the development of wind farms is subject to few planning checks, writes Michael Clifford.
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 ...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.
North Meath Wind Farm Ltd has launched a High Court challenge after it was refused permission for a 25-turbine wind farm outside Kells.
Protesters against a Co Wicklow wind farm were putting themselves in danger in a bid to prevent the laying of cables connected to the development, the High Court heard on Monday.
SWWAG chairman John O’Driscoll, who founded the group four years ago, appeared to verbalise the feelings of many (such was the round of applause he received) when he said: ‘We don’t want them [the turbines] anywhere and it’s a load of crap about turbine height. We don’t want them – end of story. This is the Garden of Ireland. Have they no cop on?’
“What we want as a group is not to have any wind farm development and certainly not of this size. Kerry at present has 14% of wind energy but that will shoot up to 25%. For one county, we feel that is more than enough,” he said. “The mood from everyone is that they are not wanted. "
It is understood that since the company's previous attempt to secure permission, the application has been amended to reduced the number of turbines from 12 to 11 with the removal of one in the Aughrim/Annacurra area in an effort to reduce the visual impact on the local community. Since the planning application was lodged last week, opposition group South Wicklow Wind Action Group (SWWAG) has vowed to take every possible step to prevent such a development from going ahead.
The couple claim the planning authority failed to properly take into account the increased noise that will be generated by the turbines. They seek an order quashing the decision allowing the wind farm be constructed.
The Government has decided not to increase the mandatory set back distance for high-powered wind turbines in its new rules for the wind energy industry. However, a raft of new restrictions for wind turbine construction are expected to limit the impact on communities affected by the rising number of wind farms in rural Ireland.
And even if Ireland gets close to reaching its 2020 targets, the EU plans to move the goalposts again by increasing the EU-wide renewables target to 27pc by 2030, with even greater fines proposed for breaches. The fines, which are set to be applied at a daily rate of €25,000, will then ratchet up at an ever more rapid pace.
The Supreme Court wants the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to determine European law issues before ruling whether An Bord Pleanála properly assessed the impact of a Co Tipperary wind farm on the habitat of the hen harrier, a protected species under EU law.
The Government has deferred a decision to issue new guidelines for wind farms following a European Court ruling which imposed duties on the State to inform the public fully.
“ABP’s decision to refuse planning permission for Maighne Wind Farm in Kildare may well be an indication that, for the second time, ABP will hear our concerns and refuse planning for Castlemoor - for the same reasons we have seen previously in Meath and most recently in Kildare.
A decision to withdraw plans for a £30 million wind farm at Slieveard Mountain on the outskirts of Omagh has been hailed as a huge victory by the campaign group set up to oppose the development.
Mr Clauson suggested the advert was an attempt to influence government wind energy guidelines, particularly on the issue of safe setback distances from homes. He believed the IWEA was “vehemently opposed” to any attempt to increase the setback distance from wind turbines to homes .