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13 Aug 2022

Big rise in green applications in Offaly

Big rise in green applications in Offaly

A decision on whether or not 21 wind turbines can be erected at Derrinlough near Birr will be made in the near future

The Planning Department of Offaly County Council told the recent meeting of Offaly County Council that there has been a big rise in the number of green energy related planning applications submitted to the Council in 2020.

These green energy projects are a sign of the times we live in and they include large solar farms, wind farm developments, battery and other new technology energy storage facilities, an anaerobic digester, biomass log storage facilities and a biomass gasification plant.

“Given the current focus on climage change,” a member of the Planning Department told the councillors during the recent meeting, “and Offaly's strategic position within the energy sector and the transition to peat after-uses, it is anticipated that further green energy planning applications will be lodged towards the end of 2020 and into 2021.”

The Executive member gave a breakdown of some of the planning applications. This included the Derrinlough Wind Farm application, which was lodged to An Bord Pleanála in February 2020. The proposal includes the development of twenty-one wind turbines with a tip height of 185 metres. A decision from the Board is expected before the end of 2020.

In other business, the Executive member said there are five new proposals for housing estates to be taken in charge by the County Council. There are also a number of housing estates which are in the process of being finalised with a view to the Council taking them in charge.

He added that there are currently eighteen sites on the Derelict Sites Register (seven in the county and eleven in Tullamore Municipal District). “Towards the end of 2019, following extensive consultation with the relevant property owners three properties were removed from the Derelict Sites register.”

He also pointed out that the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 introduced the vacant site levy which is intended to incentivise the development of vacant or idle sites in urban areas.

He said the draft Offaly County Development Plan 2021 to 2027 was placed on public display during July to October, during which about two hundred written submissions and observations were received by the Planning Authority for consideration in the making of the final plan. The Chief Executive's report on these submissions will be submitted to the councillors in January.

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