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  • An Bord Pleanala refuse permission for 45 turbine windfarm in Doonbeg, Co. Clare

    West Coastal Windpower Ltd had proposed a 45-turbine windfarm involving 126 metre high turbines, nearly double the height of Liberty Hall.  The application constituted strategic infrastructure development and was made directly to An Bord Pleanala.

    There were a significant number of objectors to the proposed development and An Bord Pleanala held an oral hearing to discuss the proposal in detail.

    The An Bord Pleanala Inspector recommended that permission be refused for 4 no. reasons relating to  1) negative impact on residential amenity and tourism, 2) proximity to a river containing the freshwater pearl mussel, 3) impact on future bird populations in the area, particularly the Whooper Swan and 4) the proposal being contrary to the Wind Energy Strategy for County Clare which identifies the appropriate scale of development for such areas to be medium 6-10 turbines and too close to existing/permitted windfarms in the area.

    The Board agreed with their inspector refusing permission on the basis of 3 no. reasons, with the Inspector’s recommendation regarding bird populations being the only reason omitted from the final order.

    This decision brings into question the concept of strategic infrastructure development whereby speed of decision and some degree of certainty in terms of a decision (given the applicant is dealing with An Bord Pleanala directly) was to be expected. However in this instance the very principle of such a large scale development must surely have been raised in pre-planning discussions given the local authority strategy that was in place.  The applicant has now been left with an expensive bill to pay the Board and objectors.

    Published on August 27, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Green Energy, Important An Bord Pleanala Decisions;
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