A High Court challenge has been brought by two farmers against An Bord Pleanála’s planning permission for a 21-turbine wind farm in County Offaly.
The applicants want the court to quash the authorisation for the Derrinlough Wind Farm development consisting of 21 wind turbines, with an overall blade tip height of up to 185 metres, along with all associated works.
An Bord Pleanála gave Bord Na Móna Powergen Ltd fast-track permission on August 26th for the strategic infrastructure development. The proposed wind farm would be developed on a 2,360-hectare site comprised of two bogs.
The judicial review action is taken by John Devery, from Kilcannon, Cloghan, Birr, Co Offaly, and Paul Kilmartin, from Ashley Crescent, Athlone, Co Roscommon, who are represented by Oisin Collins SC, instructed by O’Connell & Clarke Solicitors.
Both applicants are farmers and are owners of lands hosting a different windfarm beside the development site.
The grounds include a claim the board’s decision is invalid as it allegedly breaches the Planning and Development Act 2000 and EU law in failing to consider certain matters.
The applicants plead that no proper regard was given to the environmental effects of the development, including on humans, of shadow flicker, noise, bird collision and displacement and appropriate assessment for these.
It is also alleged that contraventions of the same act and an article of the environmental impact assessment (eia) directive occurred due to the board’s failure to publish relevant information on its website. Given the Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time, they say there was “no other reasonable option of accessing such information”.
Further, they claim there were no copies of plans of the piled foundations to be constructed beneath the turbines submitted to the board, and the board erred and “acted irrationally” in deciding on the application while having no information about the proposed construction of these piles, the ground conditions and peat depths.
Given the absence of information, it was “impossible”, they say, to conduct a proper EIA assessment and there was also no opportunity for the public to make submissions in relation to this element of the build, which is contrary to European Union law, the applicants claim.
Also alleged among the grounds is that the decision is invalid due to contraventions of European laws relating to the protection of habitats and birds.
The application, which came before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys on Monday on an ex-parte basis, was adjourned to allow papers to be amended.
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