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Planning for wind farm refused

A local authority yesterday refused planning permission for a contentious 400ft high wind farm due to its likely impact on a protected and rare bird, the Hen Harrier.

Birdwatch Ireland and a large number of locals had expressed their opposition to plans by McMahon Finn Properties Ltd for a six turbine wind farm 9km from the west Clare coastal village of Quilty.

The company last year lodged plans for a 12 turbine 13MW wind farm but halved the number of turbines in response to local concerns.

However, in a comprehensive decision, Clare County Council refused planning permission on seven grounds.

Refusing planning over the impact of the proposal on the Hen Harrier, the council said the general area is known to be an important foraging habitat for the bird which is afforded protection under annex one of the EU Habitats Directive.

Residents in the area had also opposed the plan and in response to their concerns, the council refused planning permission due to the “impact of noise and visual overbearing and [would] thus depreciate the value of property in the vicinity”.

The Council said the plans did not “strike an appropriate balance between facilitating wind energy development and protecting the residential amenity of neighbouring property”.

The wind farm was also deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to water quality standards.

The applicants have the option of appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Thursday, July 14, 2011