A wind farm near Listowel, with turbines reaching over 156 metres, has been given the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanála despite strong opposition from local groups.
To date, 362 wind turbines have been constructed in Kerry, the majority in the north of the county.
Kerry now generates 18% of the national wind output, from just 6.8% of the country’s landmass.
Stacks Mountain Windfarm Ltd will have seven turbines with a ground height of 156.5m spanning bog, low-lying forest, and agricultural land in the Finuge, Ballyhorgan, Irramore area, some 5km south of Listowel.
The initial plans for 10 turbines were lodged in 2014 but Kerry County council had twice refused permission.
The latest application is in accordance with the current national wind energy development guidelines for local authorities, set in 2006, and national and European energy policy, the planning appeals board has now said.
Several groups and individuals who live in the area had raised concerns, including Dromclough National School, 1.7 km from the nearest turbine.
It is estimated that some 118 houses fall within 1.3km of the turbines.
Mitigation measures are attached to the grant of planning by An Bord Pleanála, including for the control of shadow flicker and noise and construction.
Mayor of Kerry Jimmy Moloney said there is “great disappointment” in the area at the board’s decision.
Originally, turbines were much smaller and in upland areas away from villages and houses, he pointed out.
“The technology has changed so much since 2006 and the wind energy development guidelines are outdated. What we now have are monstrosities in low lying areas,” Cllr Moloney said.
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