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Wind turbine build to go ahead despite opposition

Planning permission has been granted for a cluster of giant wind turbines around 9km outside Macroom, despite strong opposition from the local community.

An Bord Pleanála has upheld the decision of Cork Co Council to approve the development of six wind turbines up to 131m in height at Barnadivane, Terelton for a 25-year period.

The board rejected an appeal by the Barna Wind Action Group and some local residents which have campaigned against the wind farm in a long-running planning row that dates back to 2014. The vast majority of more than 250 submissions made to the council opposed the project.

The development also provides for a 90m-high meteorological mast and ancillary infrastructure including improvement to a public road.

Separately, An Bord Pleanála also approved the construction of a substation linked to the wind farm development. The plans for the wind farm by Barna Wind Energy replaced two existing applications which has secured planning permission from An Bord Pleanála but which were quashed by the High Court in 2016 after the board accepted it had failed to follow fair procedures.

In its latest ruling, An Bord Pleanála said that, subject to a number of conditions, including limits on noise and shadow flicker, the development of the wind farm would not seriously injure residential amenities or property in the area.

It said the project would also be “acceptable in terms of visual amenity and traffic safety and would not be detrimental to other aspects of the environment”.

The board said it had taken into account national policy to increase the proportion of energy derived from renewable sources including wind. It has set a target of 40% of all electricity generated in Ireland coming from renewable sources by the end of next year.

Under the Cork County Development Plan 2014-2020, the board said the location was acceptable for wind farm development.

It said it was also satisfied that the proposed development would not have any significant effect on areas protected by EU environmental legislation including the Bandon River Special Area of Conservation.

The new turbines are located close to an existing four-turbine wind farm at Garranereagh.

The Barna Wind Action Group had claimed homes has been abandoned in several parts of the country as a result of windfarms being approved in planning decisions that were “not proven to be sufficiently robust”.

The group said 2006 guidelines relating to noise and shadow flicker from wind farms were “not now fit for purpose”.

It also complained that there was no justification for a 60MW substation which raised concerns that the developer wished to increase capacity to facilitate other wind farm projects.