Fears over the safety of low flying Department of Defence Air Corps aircraft have helped put paid to plans for a €26.25m wind-farm in Co Wicklow’s uplands.
This follows An Bord Pleanála refusing planning permission to ABO Wind Ireland Ltd for the 541 ft high five turbine wind farm on a 148 acre site on Kilranelagh Hill to the west of the Keadeen Mountains and Carrig Mountain.
The wind farm would have had the capacity to power 15,643 homes or 28% of all homes in Co Wicklow.
The appeals board refused planning permission to the scheme after objections were lodged by the Department of Defence and by scores of locals.
In its objection, the Department of Defence stated that “the proposed development at Kilranelagh will negatively impact the ability of Irish Air Corps aircraft to operate on and in the vicinity of Coolmoney Camp, air firing range and larger training area in the Glen of Imaal”.
The Department of Defence also pointed out that the proposed wind farm lies within 1.57 to 2.65 nautical miles (NM) of Coolmoney Camp.
The objection pointed out that “Air Corps helicopters land and depart from Coolmoney camp as required. It is the Air Corp’s position that no wind turbines should be permitted within 5NM of military installations to protect airspace for future instrument arrival and departure procedures.”
In its formal order refusing planning permission for the wind-farm, the appeals board found that the wind-farm would endanger or interfere with the safety of aircraft.
This followed the board stating that the proposed development would adversely affect the ability of Irish Air Corps aircraft to operate on and in the vicinity of Coolmoney Camp.
The decision by the appeals board upholds a decision by Wicklow County Council to refuse planning permission.
The plan faces widespread local opposition and the appeals board confirmed that 234 submissions were received.
Some of those to make submissions include the West Wicklow Wind Action Group, Professor William O’Brien on behalf of University College Cork’s Department of Archaeology, Mountaineering Ireland, Wicklow Uplands Council, Save Wicklow’s Ancient East Community Group, Jennifer Whitmore TD (Social Democrat), Steven Matthews TD (Green Party) and a number of local councillors.
The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media also recommended refusal due to the development’s potential impact on archaeology in the area as the area is considered to be a sensitive landscape in terms of archaeological remains in the area.
The appeals board also refused planning permission after concluding that the proposed development would result in a significant physical and visual impact on the heritage and archaeology of the area and on the archaeological landscape of the area.
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