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14-turbine wind farm has planning permission removed

An Bord Pleanála has rejected a previously approved proposal for a 14-turbine wind farm near Moycullen in Co Galway.

The board overruled its own inspector’s recommendation of the project, citing the area’s archaeological heritage and the risk of peat slippage as the main reasons for rejecting the plan.

Submitted by Western Power Developments, the project was approved last year by Galway County Council and involved 14 turbines, 140m (460ft) tall, within a kilometre of seven houses at Knockranny, overlooking the Galway-Clifden road.

It also involved ancillary structures, including a control building, a permanent meteorological mast of up to 80m in height, a substation, access tracks and associated infrastructure across an area of almost 225sq m.

Peter Crossan, a part-time farmer and former chair of the Irish Wind Energy Truth Alliance, and Dr Kevin Deering, a northeast GP appealed the planning approval.

While Knockranny residents who submitted an observation argued that the turbines would be double the height of the proposed national children’s hospital in Dublin, which An Bord Pleanála had previously ruled against due to height issues.

The board’s final ruling says that the number and layout of wind turbines and locations of associated access roads for the project do not take account of the area’s archaeological landscape of post-medieval settlements and several prehistoric features.

The inspector’s report on the appeal noted that there had been no local consultation by the developer.