A windfarm at the centre of a long running planning dispute which ended up in the Supreme Court has to cease operating pending an application to An Bórd Pleanála for permission to develop on the site overlooking the Múscraí Gaeltacht village of Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh.
The 11-turbine Cleanrath Windfarm was granted planning permission twice but this permission was declared invalid. Just before Christmas, an appeal by locally based horticulturalists Klaus Bals and Hanna Heubach, was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court held that the decision by An Bórd Pleanála to grant planning permission to the development was invalid because the Board had erred by not considering submissions from Mr. Bals and Ms Heubach about developing knowledge of the noise impact from wind turbines.
In the latest judgement from the Supreme Court delivered last week by Justice Donal O’Donnell, he granted Cleanrath Windfarm Limited a stay on the order of the Supreme Court delivered in December which means the developer, Cleanrath Windfarm Limited, one of a large number of renewable energy firms owned by Macroom businessman Michael Murnane, can apply for substitute consent to An Bórd Pleanála.
The stay is conditional, however, on work ceasing at Cleanrath Windfarm until the matter is adjudged by An Bord Pleanála.
In his judgement, Judge O’Donnell said that the developer couldn’t be blamed for proceeding with works on the site even after the December judgement as the process of An Bórd Pleanála was flawed and he would be at a considerable loss if he, as he feared, lost out on potential government funding under the Refit 2 scheme.
He said that the stay was conditional on work ceasing at the site as, otherwise, it would be as if Mr Bals and Ms Heubach had lost their appeal in December when they had actually been successful.
An Bord Pleanála was also told it should expedite the application for substitute consent as the current situation was a result of its own flawed procedure.
This is the latest milestone in a seven year planning saga centred on the Cleanrath Windfarm.
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