Couple lose challenge to Cork windfarm development on basis of noise

By Ann O’Lougglin

A Cork couple who wanted the granting of substitute planning permission for the Kilvinane windfarm quashed have lost their case in the High Court.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello in the High Court dismissed the application of Claire O’Brien and Patrick O’Brien who live near the wind farm in the Dunmanway area to legally challenge the granting of the substitute planning permission.

Ms Justice Costello said it was an application to quash a March 2017 decision on An Bord Pleanala granting substitute consent for the Kilvinane wind farm near Dunmanway, Co Cork.

The order was sought on the basis that An Bord Pleanala allegedly failed to carry out an envionmental impact assessment in accordance with the laws and EU directives.

The judge said the planning history of the Kilvinane wind farm is complex. Planning permission had been granted in July 2002, for a windfarm with four turbines at Kilvinane and modifications were sought and later granted .

In 2016 the Court of Appeal held the turbines as constructed were unauthorised development and in March of this year An Bord Pleanala granted substitute consent for the windfarm which meant development in complance with the substitute consent was deemed authorised development.

In April of this year a High Court judge granted Claire O’Brien and Patrick O’Brien who at one time lived near the windfarm leave to seek judicial review of the an Bord Pleanala March 2017 decision.

The O’Briens lived just over 500 metres from the nearest turbine with their three children until they moved to a house about 1.5 kilmetres away due to what they claimed was noise from the wind farm.

The couple contended in the High Court an incorrect baseline for measuring noise was used by the inspector and the Bord failed to have regard to the experience of local residents on the impact of noise from the wind farm.

Ms Justice Costello said there was an appropriate environmental baseline established and the impacts of the proposed development against this baseline were assessed.

The judge also said the Bord identified the precise hazard posed as regards increased noise in the environment and imposed a stringent standard and the means of ensuring compliance with the standard on the developer in order to ensure there was no undue damage to existing amenities.

Ms Justice Costello dismissed the application for judicial review.


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