Two separate legal challenges to wind farm developments are to be fast-tracked by the Commercial Court.
Environmentalist Peter Sweetman has challenged Tipperary County Council’s decision extending planning permission for a wind farm development at Castlewaller, Newport, Co Tipperary. The extension of permission to build a 16-turbine wind farm and associated works was granted last July to Castlewaller Woodland and Partnership (CWP).
Mr Sweetman has brought the challenge on a number of grounds, including concerning the viability of the proposed wind farm.
The original permission was granted in 2012, and was due to expire last April but CWP sought and secured an extension of the permission. It says the €46 million proposed development will create 30 to 40 jobs during construction, and seven full-time jobs if the wind farm becomes operational.
It also says significant progress on the project must be made in order to qualify for State financial support under the REFIT II scheme. On those and other grounds it applied to have the challenge fast-tracked.
Mr Justice Brian McGovern agreed to fast-track the case, which will return before the court next month.
He also agreed to transfer to the Commercial Court a separate challenge to another proposed wind farm development in Co Kerry.
The North Kerry Wind Turbine Awareness Group has challenged An Bord Pleanála’s granting of permission last July for construction of 10 wind turbines close to the village of Lixnaw. It is claimed the proposed development does not comply with requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the EU Habitats Directive.
The developer, Stacks Mountain Windfarm Ltd, a third party to the case, sought to have it fast-tracked. The firm said the overall scheme would cost €46 million and €1.5 million has been spent to date.
The developer claims any serious delay in the development will seriously jeopardise participation in the REFIT II scheme. That case will return to the court in February.
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