A 19-turbine wind farm in Donegal is set to go ahead after a High Court legal challenge against it was withdrawn.
The multi-million-euro development of a wind farm at Meenbog close to the Barnesmore Gap had been threatened by a legal challenge over the possible impact of the development on the breeding of a wild bird.
An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission to Cork-based company Planree Limited for the development. The plans had been opposed by some elements of the local community and over 250 objections were lodged.
The Irish Raptor Study Group (IRSG) had launched the legal challenge over concerns about the impact of the development on the Hen Harrier. The legal challenge had been welcomed by Finn Valley Wind Action, which had led the local campaign against the wind farm. The development was granted planning permission after a previous similar application by the same company had failed.
The case was before the High Court on December 19.
In a statement (IRSG) confirmed it had withdrawn the proceedings challenging the decision.
Ryan Wilson-Parr Chairman of the IRSG said: “It is apparent that current best practice and policy in Ireland in relation to safeguarding European protected species outside of designated sites could be improved to better implement the Birds Directive, Habitats Directive and EIA Directive.
“The IRSG will continue to work to improve the protections for the conservation of the Hen Harrier and other Birds of Prey. The IRSG would like to thank the efforts of our legal team Fred Logue Solicitors and Barrister David Browne.”
IRSG had objected to the proposed development and claimed the southern area of the county supports up to 11 territorial pairs of breeding Hen Harrier, equivalent to seven per cent of the national population.
The group say the Hen Harrier is now Ireland’s rarest declining breeding bird species due to habitat loss and has suffered a 50 per cent decline in numbers over the last 40 years.
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