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Objectors hope planning ruling will take wind from power company’s sails

Objectors to windfarms planned for various parts of Connemara were given renewed hope this week following a decision by An Bord Pleanála to prevent 14 turbines from being erected.

The Planning Appeals Board overturned a decision by Galway County Council to grant planning for the proposed windfarm which would have been located between Moycullen and Roscahill on the grounds that it could cause landslides.

And those who are opposed to a 12 turbine windfarm in the same general area will take a certain amount of satisfaction from this decision as they too have appealed a Galway County Council decision.

In 2011 the green light has been given to Western Power Developments to erect 14 wind turbines at Knockranny and Arderroo which is around three and a half miles from Moycullen and two and a half miles from Roscahill.

Galway County Council were of the opinion that the area was considered to be most suitable for a windfarm development as it had excellent wind resources, had access to the national grid, was a sufficient distance away from properties and was outside areas that would have a landscape sensitivity class.

But when this decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanála, they were of a different view and ruled that the windfarm would also have an adverse effect on a post-medieval settlements and several prehistoric features.

They said that it would seriously injure the setting of a monument located at the peak of Knockranny Hil. This decision conflicted with a recommendation from one of their own inspectors who recommended that planning permission be granted.

The Board also agreed with a submission from Peter Crossan, part-time farmer and former chair of the Irish Wind Energy Truth Alliance, and north-east GP Dr Kevin Deering that by granting permission for the windfarm, it would create a risk of peat slippage and the resultant damage to the environment was unacceptable.

This decision has buoyed residents living between Moycullen and Spiddal who have appealed a decision to grant planning for a windfarm on 130 acres of Coillte lands. The residents say that there is the potential of them being surrounded by turbines.

The 12 turbine windfarm is planned for the townlands of Knockalough, Finisklin and Laughil which is about three miles from Moycullen – a decision on this appeal is due later in the autumn.

Read more in today’s Connacht Tribune