An Bord Pleanála has overturned a decision by Cork County Council to deny planning permission for a controversial wind farm in the Lee Valley which was originally declined on grounds including environmental.
Developers Cleanrath Windfarm Limited appealed the decision made in June 2012 to deny planning for 11 turbines of up to 126m at Cleanrath South, Cleanrath North and Derrineanig.
The board granted permission for an extended period of ten years with attached conditions and decided not to accept the inspector’s recommendation to omit certain turbines as part of the conditions as ‘the board considered that the separation distances proposed between turbines and dwellings were in accordance with national guidelines’. It was also not considered necessary to omit any turbines on ecological grounds. The operational period for the turbines is 25 years from the date of commissioning.
The board say they completed an environmental impact assessment and concluded that the proposed development would not have a significant adverse effect on the environment. The assessment, they say, had regard to the potential impacts on nearby Natura 2000 sites the Gearagh SAC and Gearagh SPA and the Mullaghanish to Musheramore SPA. They concluded that the proposed development on its own or in combination with other plans or projects would not adversely affect the integrity of the European site.
Local resident Klaus Balz reckons his will be the closest residence to the proposed windmills and is very disappointed by the decision. ‘It will probably be 600m to the nearest windmill. Given that proximity and the fact that they are 126m high means I will probably be able to see them from my yard. As for the noise level, I couldn’t tell you what it will be like. I went up to a couple of wind farms and it was quite scary,’ Klaus said this week.
Klaus, who lives in the scenic area in Derrineanig, describes it currently as ‘a little paradise’. He said the whole process around the development of the wind farm has been very divisive in the local community.
Among the conditions set down by An Bord Pleanála is a limit on shadow flicker at surrounding dwellings of 30 hours per annum or 30 minutes per day. Prior to developing the site, a protocol for assessing the impact on radio or television or other telecommunication in the area must be agreed with responsibility on the developer to mitigate any interference.
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