Offaly wind farm plans rejected by An Bord Pleanala

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An Bord Pleanala has overturned a decision by Offaly County Council to grant planning permission for a wind farm near Cloghan.

An Bord Pleanala has overturned a decision by Offaly County Council to grant planning permission for a wind farm near Cloghan.

Offaly County Council had originally granted permission to Gaeltech Energy Developments Limited for the erection of 10 wind turbines each with a maximum tip height of up to 170 metres on lands at Stonestown, Kilcamin, Crancreagh and Derrinlough, Cloghan, County Offaly.

That decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanala who refused permission primarily because it was ‘create a significant visual intrusion in the landscape’.

The report also says that the proposed wind energy development, if permitted, ‘would significantly and adversely impact upon the existing residential amenities of a number of houses in the vicinity by reason of visual impact, noise and shadow flicker impacts while also stating that the planning authority is not satisfied based on the information submitted that the proposed development would not threaten wildfowl in the vicinity of the site.

The order from an Bord Pleanala states, “Having regard to the nature of the receiving environment and the open nature of the immediately adjoining lands and the size and scale of the proposed turbines, it is considered that a wind farm development of the scale proposed would create a significant visual intrusion in this landscape by reason of the height and spatial extent of the proposed turbines which would be excessively dominant and visually obtrusive when viewed from the surrounding countryside and villages. The proposed wind energy development would, therefore, seriously injure the visual amenities of the area, would be contrary to the provisions of the Wind Energy Guidelines for Planning Authorities issued by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in June, 2006 and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The planning authority also published a 112 pages Inspectors Report which covers all aspects of the project under a number of headings including Landscape/Visual Impact, Residential Amenity, Noise, Shadow Flicker, Archaeological Impacts, Roads & Traffic, Ecological Issues, Impacts on Habitats, Impacts on Flora & Fauna, Adequacy of the EIS, Water Quality, Geology & Hydrogeology, Flood Risk Assessment, Interference with Telecommunications, Access to National Grid and Impact on Tourism.

The full Inspectors Report can be viewed on the An Bord Pleanala website by clicking here