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  • The High Court has quashed the decision of An Bord Pleanala to grant permission for a windfarm development in Co. Clare following a case taken by a third party appellant. The High Court ruled that the Planning and Development Act requires that notice be given to the applicant, any person who made submissions, and any party to an appeal or referral, that a determination has been made that an appropriate assessment is required, complete with reasons as to why – but An Bord Pleanála failed to give reasons.

    Also, the High Court ruled that the An Bord Pleanala determination as to whether a development would adversely impact the integrity of a European site (appropriate assessment) was generic and amounted to only an assertion that ‘Having considered all the material put in front of it, the Board has reached the following conclusion…’. It did not satisfy the legal requirement, as established under Kelly v. An Bord Pleanála [2014] IEHC 400, which found that reasons must be given to enable interested parties and courts to assess the lawfulness of the decision. The Court found that “what is required of An Bord Pleanála are complete, precise and definitive findings and conclusions of a degree of specificity sufficient that a party minded to seek judicial review of such determination can turn readily to the particular observations, reasoning or conclusions in, say, a particular report or text to which reference is made, rather than simply being told that somewhere in an ocean of documentation is some stream of logic that An Bord Pleanála favours”.

    The result of this High Court decision is that Orders issued by An Bord Pleanala are now likely to be more detailed with very precise reasoning included, particularly in respect of appropriate assessment. Given the limited number of persons on the Board and the time involved in drafting such Orders this will place more pressure on the Board and possibly delay other decisions longer.

    Published on June 22, 2016 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Uncategorized; Tagged as: , , ,
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  • In a recent court judgment at the end of 2014, O’Griana v An Bord Pleanala, Cork Co Council and Framore Limited, Justice Peart ruled that planning permission should not be granted for an windfarm project requiring a grid connection unless the grid connection details are provided in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.

    The case related to a 6 turbine wind farm in at Réidh na nDoirí, Ballingeary, Co. Cork and is one of many wind farm permissions which are currently being challenged in the courts.

    To date planning authorities have accepted developers’ claims that details from ESB Networks are often not available at the time of planning and this element can be dealt with via a separate application subsequent to the application for the wind farm itself.

    Essentially Justice Peart quashed the decision of An Board Pleanala to grant permission on the basis of ‘project splitting’, which is a recognised term for dividing up the true extent of a development. The grid connection for the proposed wind farm was considered to be an integral part of the project and the wind farm could not be dealt with as a stand-alone project in respect of EIA.

    This decision could yet be appealed.

    Published on January 5, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Court Cases, Green Energy; Tagged as: , ,
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