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  • The Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte T.D. has announced that he is establishing an expert panel chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Catherine McGuinness to oversee the preparation of reports on the best underground route options to compare with the Grid Link and Grid West high voltage power lines currently being designed.

    The expert panel will be tasked with deciding terms of reference for comprehensive, route-specific studies of fully undergrounded options for both Grid Link and Grid West. The panel will be required to ensure that the studies are complete, objective, and comparable to similar studies of overhead options for the two projects, and will report to the Minister in that regard. Both the overhead and underground options will be published side-by-side, in objective and comparable terms, before proceeding to the next stage of public consultation.
    The other members of the group appointed by the Minister are economists John FitzGerald and Colm McCarthy, Engineering Professor Keith Bell, University of Strathclyde and Dr. Karen Foley, Head of School of Landscape Architecture, UCD.

    It is of particular note that there is no planning expertise on the ‘expert board’ which seems very surprising.

    It is also of note that the north-south connector project is excluded from the review on the basis that it is too far advanced.

    It is understood that this will delay a planning application by approximately 18 months. Whilst many believe this is simply a delay tactic to get over the local elections it remains to be seen whether it will end up simply being lip service or prove to be a ‘game changer’ in terms of how electricity is transported in this country.

    Published on January 29, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Uncategorized; Tagged as: , ,
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  • The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013, which was enacted on the 25th December 2013, transferred a range of statutory water services functions from Local Authorities to Irish Water from the 1st January 2014. Therefore, as per advice given by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Planning Authorities cannot include conditions on permissions granted after the 1st of January 2014 that require contributions towards water infrastructure & facilities.



    Planning conditions from the 1st Jan 2014 are now reflecting the reduction to account for the water infrastructure element. It would appear that some of these permissions are in the position of not having to pay this element of the levy at all. They have fallen for decision in the period where the Council have stopped their responsibility in this regard but Irish Water are not yet active. However, Planning Authorities are advised to notify Irish Water of new planning applications as of the 1st of January 2014 so unfortunately it does not appear that this window of opportunity will continue.

    Published on January 23, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Guidelines; Tagged as: ,
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  • The Development Contribution Guidelines for Local Authorities January 2013 have been updated in relation to renewable energy development. Authorities are encouraged to consider reduced or no charges in respect of a renewable energy development which is not supplying electricity to the national grid including small scale renewable energy developments generating energy primarily for onsite usage e.g. for domestic, agricultural, small industry and educational purposes.

    Furthermore it should be explicitly stated in all planning authority development contribution schemes that options for waivers, either full or partial, do not apply to proposed renewable energy developments primarily delivering energy off site (for sale), whether for use in Ireland or for export to another market.
    Authorities should also ensure that their schemes distinguish proportionately between large and small-scale. For example, it would be inappropriate to charge the same flat rate charge to a 6kW wind turbine as it would for a 3MW turbine.

    Published on January 23, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Green Energy, Planning Guidelines; Tagged as: , ,
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  • An Bord Pleanala have overturned the decision of Offaly County Council to grant permission for 10 wind turbines south of the village of Cloghan in County Offaly. This decision is of significance given the large-scale wind farm proposals envisaged for the county and the wider midlands area. The decision is also significant as it highlights that the visual impact on open landscapes, such as bogland which is widespread in the midlands, is a material consideration in terms of wind farm development.

    The applicant had applied for permission for 10 wind turbines on a site of 15.8 hectares owned by 7 different landowners. Each turbine would have a hub height of up to 110 metres and rotor diameter of up to 120 metres, with an overall maximum tip height of up to 170 metres. Associated site development works were also proposed. The predominant use in the area is for peat purposes, including cutover bogs for commercial purposes and agricultural lands.



    The Planning Authority decided to grant planning permission for the proposed development subject to 18 no. conditions including the restriction of the height of the turbine to 110m hub and rotor of 120m.

    The decision was appealed Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on January 9, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Green Energy, Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions, Rural Planning; Tagged as:
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