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Gaelectric fail in wind farm appeal

An Bord Pleanala has refused the appeal by Gaelectric Developments Limited to build a €25 million wind farm comprising five wind turbines, an electrical substation, and associated works at Rockmarshall in north Louth.

The company behind the plan to build the wind farm had no comment to make following last week’s ruling by An Bord Pleanala to refuse their appeal against Louth County Council’s decision to refuse permission for the five wind turbines which they had claimed would supply the annual domestic needs of over 7,000 homes or 18% of households in Co Louth.

An Bord Pleanala held that proposed development would contravene the landscape protection policies set out in the County Development Plan to protect the unspoilt natural environment of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In their finding, the Board said: ‘ the proposed development would seriously injure the visual amenity of he Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and of sceic routes and would interfere with the character of this landscape and with views and prospects of special amenity value and natural beauty, which it is necessary to preserve.’

The decision has been welcomed by the Protect Rockmarshall Mountain Group which had been formed in 2010 and over 1,200 people, including locals and visitors to the area signed a petition urging Louth County Council not to grant permission for the windfarm, which they felt would ruin the beauty of the scenic area as well as having adverse health effects for people living close to the proposed development.

Gaelectric had said that the construction costs of the project would have been in the region of €25million and that 25% of this would have been spent in the local and regional economy. At least 20 short-term jobs would have been created during the nine-month construction period. Once completed, it was estimated at least one full time post, and part time inputs from maintenance contractors would have been e required and it was also proposed to appoint a local caretaker.

Gaelectric had also offered to provide a Community Fund of approximately €212,500 over the 25 year lifetime of the wind farm.