Local residents have won, “in principle”, their Supreme Court appeal over a stay on an order requiring a Waterford windfarm operator to put nine turbines into “standby” mode.
The High Court had previously found they were not built in line with planning permission and required an environmental impact assessment.
However, arising from various factors, the stay will remain in place pending the Court of Appeal’s decision on the appeal by Barranafaddock Sustainability Electricity Ltd over the High Court findings concerning the development at Ballyduff.
In important judgments today on the proper approach to be taken to the question of a stay during an appeal in planning proceedings concerning a development requiring an environmental impact assessment (EIA), the Supreme Court allowed the residents’ appeal over the stay.
It previously ruled it would not interfere with the stay at this stage for reasons including the Court of Appeal decision on the developer’s appeal is pending and the “significant change” in circumstances since the High Court decision of late 2019.
That change relates to the fact that An Bord Pleanála’s (ABP) reconsideration of its refusal of substitute consent for the turbines was put on hold pending separate proceedings concerning the substitute consent process.
On July 1 last, the Supreme Court held the substitute consent procedure is inconsistent with the EIA directive.
Giving the main judgment of the five-judge court today on the stay issue, Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley said, “on balance”, she would not have granted the stay.
She agreed with aspects of the Court of Appeal ruling on the stay, including the developer had raised arguable grounds of appeal in respect of the effect of ABP’s declaration the turbines as built were not exempt development and concerning whether the turbines as built did in fact come within the original permission.
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