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Airport close to deal with windfarm firm

A regional airport is said to be close to an agreement with a windfarm developer in relation to the cost of adjusting its technology to allow aircraft land safely.

An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission two years ago for a 28-turbine windfarm near the Cork/ Kerry border, following an appeal by Saorgus Energy against refusal by Kerry County Council.

One of the reasons cited by the council for refusal was that the windfarm, in the Glanawaddra/Cordal area, could interfere with aircraft safety.

It will cost between €350,000 and €500,000 to adapt the technology to change the glide slope – the descent path for aircraft preparing to land – Kerry Airport has claimed.

Airport manager Peter Moore said talks were continuing and they wanted Saorgus to meet the entire cost of the adjustment.

He told the airport board AGM, which heard the airport had an operating loss of €82,000 last year, they were close to reaching agreement with the firm on the financial aspect. “I have been fighting against this windfarm for many years,’’ Mr Moore added.

In allowing conditional planning for the development, An Bord Pleanála took into consideration the view of the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) which was that the windfarm would not impact on commercial flights.

The IAA also said it was possible to improve instrument landing systems.

The main concerns of the airport arose from the height and density of the turbines. It also claimed the turbines would interfere with the instrument landing system and the approach to the airport.

However, recommending that planning be granted, the planning inspector said the windfarm would not endanger aircraft if planning conditions were met.

A number of windfarms are already operating in the Cordal/Mount Eagle area, between Castleisland, Co Kerry, and Newmarket, Co Cork.