Bord Pleanála agrees to quashing of windfarm planning permission

An Bord Pleanála has consented before the High Court to orders quashing its decision granting planning permissions for a windfarm and electricity sub-station in Co Cork.

The board accepted it failed to comply with fair procedures in not adhering to its own decision to circulate a submission made to it in January 2016 by Barna Wind Energy Ltd.

The board had agreed to circulate that submission to residents and other parties who were appealing to the board against Cork County Council’s separate grants of permission for the windfarm and sub-station but it failed to do so.

In those circumstances, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan yesterday made agreed orders quashing the July 8 2016 grant of permission to Barna Wind Energy Ltd for construction of six wind turbines and associated development and infrastructure at Barnadivane, Terelton, Co Cork.

He also quashed a decision of July 11 2016, granting Arran Windfarm Ltd permission for construction of an electricity substation compound, intended to replace an existing substation, at Barnadivane (Kneeves), Terleton, in circumstances where that decision was made at the same July 8 meeting where the board decided on the windfarm planning permission.

The orders were made under a settlement of judicial review proceedings taken by a number of residents of the Enniskeane, Lissarda/Macroom area.

The settlement provides the matter now returns to the board to be determined “in accordance with law”.

The residents may also raise, in relation to any future decision by the board, any of several other grounds raised by them in their proceedings.

They will also get their costs of the case to date.

Among their complaints was that the windfarm was the only part of the disputed development which was subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment.

The division of the project into three parts — a windfarm, electricity sub-station and construction of a private road — amounted to “project splitting” in breach of the relevant EIA Directive and the Board failed to carry out an EIA in accordance with the Directive, it was claimed.

In an affidavit on behalf of the applicants, Stephanie Larkin, of Moneygaff East, Castletown, Enniskeane, said there are many wind farm developments, either constructed or proposed, in the general area as a result of it being designated for windfarms in the Cork County Development Plan.

She said residents feel “surrounded and invaded by the windfarm industry”.

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