A number of local residents have lost their legal challenge over the approval of permission for a windfarm development in Co Cork.
The residents’ concerns included the environmental impact of the development and noise from the turbines.
They disputed An Bord Pleanála’s June 2016 permission for a six-turbine windfarm, a substation, underground cables and associated development in the town lands of Derragh, Rathgaskig, Lack Beg, at Ballingeary.
Following an earlier High Court decision, Framore Ltd, the developer, revised its planning application to relocate one of the turbines 50m away from its original proposed location in order to ensure all turbines were a minimum 500m away from all residences.
The application was also revised to provide for underground cabling between the site substation and the national electricity grid substation near Kilgarvan, Co Kerry.
The revisions were made to address earlier findings of the High Court concerning the board’s assessment of the development’s environmental impact.
In late 2014, the High Court quashed an earlier permission by the board to Framore after finding an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the proposed development had to be considered as part of an overall assessment of how the turbines will be connected to the national power grid.
The court said an EIA of the 100m turbines could not be considered separately from the grid connection which could involve overhead or underground power lines.
Following the decision, the High Court later ruled that the board could reconsider a revised application from Framore for permission. The board did so and granted permission.
The families challenged that permission decision but, in a reserved judgment yesterday, Mr Justice Brian McGovern dismissed their case.
He found the board did what the previous High Court decision required it to do, “and did so properly”, and dismissed arguments the EIA carried out by the board was inadequate.
The board was required to ensure the cumulative effects of the proposed windfarm development and the connection to the national grid were assessed before granting permission for the proposed windfarm, the judge said.
That assessment was conducted with “complete, precise and definitive” findings and conclusions capable of removing “all reasonable scientific doubt” about the effect of the development on three European sites and, particularly, the effects of other windfarm projects and sources of drainage run off on the Gearagh Candidate Special Area of Conservation, he held.
The permission does not authorise the development of the grid connection between Cleanarth and Derragh windfarm sites, he also held.
The case was adjourned for two weeks to allow the judgment be considered.
Eamon Galligan, for the residents, said they will consider whether to seek leave to appeal.
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