December 31, 2021

2021 Kildare news review: Battles against two Kildare wind farm proposals

By Niamh O'Donoghue 31 Dec 2021 |

Last November, many members of the Monasterevin community were delighted to learn An Bord Pleanála had upheld the decision by Kildare Co Council to refuse planning permission for a proposed new wind farm on the Rathangan Road.

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

Last March, the council refused the application due to concerns about an Air Corps flight path as well as ecological and road network issues.

The refusal was appealed to An Bord Pleanála which has now upheld the decision.

The Board referred to the maximum blade tip height of 169m of the proposed project which it said is within the area of a low-level flight route used by the Air Corps.

The Board added: “It is considered that the proposed development would endanger or interfere with the safety of aircraft or the safe and efficient navigation thereof and would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

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

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.

Meanwhile, an appeal against a €70 million Kildare wind farm for the Carbury area is still before the courts.

Lorraine Quinn and Edo Advocacy CLG previously got permission from the High Court to seek to have An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission for the Drehid Wind Farm overturned.

North Kildare Windfarm Ltd wants to erect 12 turbines with a tip height of up to 169 meters as well as an on-site electricity substation in the townlands of Ballynamullagh, Coolree, Drehid, Dunfierth, Killyon, Kilmurry and Mulgeeth.

More than 370 objections, many of them group observations, were lodged with Kildare County Council when the plans were submitted on December 18 2018. The local authority refused permission on December 19 2019. The main reason for the decision was concerns over the condition of the road network.

This was appealed by the applicants to An Bord Pleanála on January 23 2020. The Kildare Environment Awareness Group and Lorraine Quinn also contacted the board to register their concerns about the development.

The board granted permission on October 3 2020 with 16 conditions attached. The local community then started the legal process of undertaking a judicial review of that decision. So far Drehid Against Wind Turbines have raised €8,395 of their €15,000 target to cover the legal costs of the case. The Lorraine Quinn and Edo Advocacy CLG case came up in court last February and June, and was listed in the court diary for November 2, however the case is likely to be heard next year. Statkraft is the parent company of North Kildare Windfarm Ltd.

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