An Bord Plean·la has overturned Kerry County Council’s decision to approve planning permission for a wind farm near Kilgarvan in a case in which Minister John O’Donoghue and Deputy Jackie Healy-Rae had both expressed an interest.
The proposed development by Kerry Wind Power Ltd would consist of 38 wind turbines, ancillary buildings and site works.
The site is located in the Derrysaggart Mountains, five kilometres south east of Kilgarvan village and 15 kilometres from Ken-mare town.
Kerry County Council issued a split decision, granting permission for 25 turbines, subject to a number of conditions.
The planners refused permission for 13 other turbines arguing that they were located within an area zoned secondary special amenity.
The council is obliged to limit development to a site in a secondary special amenity zone and ensure the design will not have an adverse impact on the character of the landscape.
An Taisce lodged a third party appeal to the proposal stating that it was not opposed to a wind farm in the county but expressed concern about its size and location.
The environmental watchdog said the proposed area was highly scenic and had not yet been developed for tourism or for housing and remains more unspoilt that popular tourist areas.
An Taisce’s appeal noted the area’s zoning and stated that a wind farm at Coomagearlahy, north of the development, had a considerable visual impact even at 16 kilometres from the R569 near Kenmare.
Among objections to Kerry County Council, one letter stated that the Slaheny Valley was one of the great natural wonders in the south west and the development would visually degrade the area, which is as beautiful as anything in the environs of Killarney.
Another letter of objection from a third party questioned the value of the development in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, compared with the large-scale visual impact. The development would reduce the natural capacity to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
The development would not, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
Observations were made by Jackie Healy-Rae TD, who said he was in favour of the development and requested to be kept informed on the appeal.
Minister John O’Donoghue wrote to the board on behalf of Mr Florence McCarthy of Killowen House, Kenmare and requested information on the present position of the application.
In her final report , An Bord Pleanala inspector, Mairead Kenny, recommended that permission be refused.
She claimed that the environmental impact statement was deficient in its failure to consider alternatives and to provide sufficient information in relation to key impacts including the effects on landscape, humans, habitats, birds and bats.
She further claimed that the proposal would result in an unacceptable adverse visual impact, which would be detrimental to the amenities of the Slaheny Valley and Kilgarvan village.
Ms Kenny subsequently recommended that the proposed development be refused permission as it would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
8 March 2007
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