August 17, 2021

Anger over weather mast as Monasterevin wind farm appeal decision is due

Temporary structure erected | By Niamh O'Donoghue | Leinster Leader | 16 Aug 2021 |

A number of Monasterevin residents living near a site where a wind farm was refused planning permission were astonished to see an 80m mast erected there at the end of last month.

Kildare County Council’s decision to refuse permission for the development at Ummeras had been appealed to An Bord Pleanala. A decision is not due from the board until tomorrow, August 17.

The Monasterevin and Rathangan Wind Awareness group contacted Statkraft, the company behind the project, to find out more information about the new mast .

The company said the Ummeras proposal was still working its way through the planning process.

However it did inform the group that the mast was a temporary structure and would be removed within 15 months.

It said the meteorological mast will be used to gather information on wind speeds in the local area.

It is understood the mast is exempt from planning permission.

One local resident said: “It is so disrespectful that they have put this mast up while the planning process is ongoing. A decision on the appeal hasn’t even been made yet. It’s disgraceful.”

On the project website, Statkraft said the mast requires no additional planning permission and meets council criteria.

Kildare County Council confirmed that Statkraft did not seek from it a declaration that the mast is an ‘exempted development’ – but noted that obtaining such a declaration is not a mandatory requirement.

Ummeras Wind Farm Ltd (Statkraft) wants to build five 169m high turbines in the townlands of Ummeras Beg, Coolatogher, Mullaghroe Lower, Ummeras More and Coolsickin/Quinsborough.

The council refused the application due to Air Corps flight path, ecological and road network concerns.

Over 170 submissions were made by local residents, politicians, Kildare Failte, the Irish Peatland Conservation Council and the Irish Aviation Authority.

Residents also raised concerns about the possible impact the facility would have on the Ballykelly distillery project, the €5m investment in the Blueway Grand Canal cycle and walkways, and the development of Umeras Peatland Park. The Monasterevin Rathangan Wind Awareness Group also raised these concerns with An Bord Pleanála after Statkraft lodged its appeal back in April.

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