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Planners open way for new windfarm  

Credit:  By Cróna Esler, Western People, www.westernpeople.com 6 October 2011 ~~

The promoters of a windfarm in Claremorris have overcome their final obstacle after An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the project.

PWWP Developments Ltd had received planning permission from Mayo Co Council last July for the four-turbine wind-farm at Cloontooa in Claremorris. But the matter was appealed to An Bord Pleanála on a number of grounds, including visual impact and a flawed environment statement.

The site for the proposed windfarm is six kilometres east of Claremorris and nine kilo-metres west of Ballyhaunis.

The company originally sought permission for seven turbines but this was reduced to four during the planning process.

Following Mayo Co Council’s decision to grant permission, local resident John Keane and Kevin Deering of Swanlinbar, Co Cavan, lodged appeals with An Bord Pleanála.

In his appeal, Mr Keane argued that the council did not have the necessary information to determine the application and that the EIS was essentially flawed.

Mr Keane also raised several other concerns in relation to noise, electromagnetic interference, the road network and other issues.

In the second appeal, Mr Deering raised concerns in relation to the visual impact of the proposal, the habitat, the lack of a bat survey and suggested that the proposal could potentially impact on special areas of conservation.

Having carried out site visits and assessed all correspondence, An Bord Pleanála rejected the appeals and granted planning permission subject to 27 conditions.

Among these is a 25-year time life span for the wind turbines from the date of their commissioning.

The board has also ordered a condition survey be carried out of the roads and bridges along the haul route, both before and after construction of the wind-farm. Conditions relating to the finish of the turbines and blades; noise levels; and access roads were also included. The developer must also submit and agree in writing with the planning authority a protocol for assessing any impact on radio or television reception in the area.

In terms of financial contributions, PWWP Developments Limited must lodge with the planning authority a cash deposit, a bond of an insurance company, or such other security, to ensure the satisfactory reinstatement of the site upon cessation of the project. There must also be a cash deposit to secure the satisfactory maintenance/ repair of any damage caused to the existing public road network as a result of the development.

Finally, the developer must pay to the planning authority a contribution in respect of public infrastructure and facilities benefiting development in the area.

Source:  By Cróna Esler, Western People, www.westernpeople.com 6 October 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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