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Landowners challenge windfarm approvals  

Credit:  By Ann O’Loughlin | Irish Examiner | June 18, 2013 | www.irishexaminer.com ~~

Two Cork landowners have mounted a High Court challenge against a decision of the authorities to grant planning permission for a windfarm near their home.

Klaus Balz and Hanna Heuback, of Bear No Gaoithe, Inchigeelagh, Co Cork, are opposed to a decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission to Cleanrath Windfarm Ltd to construct 11 turbines up to heights of 126m and other structures including an 85m-high meteorological mast at Cleanrath, Co Cork.

The couple live and operate a shrubbery business just 650m from the nearest turbine on the proposed development.

Yesterday Eamon Galligan, for the applicants, told the High Court that in Jun 2011, Cork County Council refused to grant planning permission for the project.

It was considered the proposed development would result in the destruction of a habitat of high ecological value and have a major impact on an area of high local biodiversity value.

Because of this, the council held that the proposed development would materially contravene the stated objectives in the council’s current development plan.

However the developers appealed against that refusal to An Bord Pleanála, which granted planning permission last April.

Mr Galligan said his clients have brought the action because they believe An Bord Pleanála’s decision is flawed on a number of grounds. Before arriving at its decision to give the development the go-ahead, An Bord Pleanála failed to carry out an environmental impact assessment which it was obliged to do.

It also failed to carry out an appropriate assessment, as required under the habitats directive on nearby sites such as the Gearagh special area of conservation and the Mullaghanish to Musheramore special protection areas.

Counsel said An Bord Pleanála also failed to give reasons, which it is required to do, why it was allowing a material contravention of the council’s development plan.

In proceedings against An Bord Pleanála, the couple have asked the High Court to quash the board’s decision of Apr 29 granting planning permission to Cleanrath Windfarm Ltd to develop the windfarm at Cleanrath North, Cleanrath South, and Derrineanig, Co Cork.

They also want the court to remit the application back to An Bord Pleanála. They are also seeking declarations from the court including that the board failed to carry out an environmental impact assessment in respect of the proposed development, as required under the 2000 Planning and Development Act, and EU law.

Both Cork County Council and Cleanrath Windfarm Ltd are notice parties to the action.

Yesterday at the High Court, Mr Justice Michael Peart granted permission, on an ex-parte basis, to the couple to bring the challenge. The matter will come before the court again in early October.

Source:  By Ann O’Loughlin | Irish Examiner | June 18, 2013 | www.irishexaminer.com

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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