Local group in appeal to stop solar farm

A local action group near Midleton has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála to try and stop a development of a solar farm outside the east Cork town.

The Ballyspillane West and Surrounding Area Action Group was formed to fight plans for the large-scale solar energy project in the townland that lies around 3km north-west of Midleton.

They are challenging the decision of Cork County Council to grant planning permission for the solar farm on a 28-hectare site to a solar energy company, Terra Solar, subject to 35 conditions.

The proposed development would see the installation of around 84,200 sq m of solar panels on the farmland which would provide a maximum output of 14.1 megawatts.

The council claimed the principle of a solar farm was acceptable on agricultural land in rural areas subject to the normal proper planning and sustainable development considerations.

The action group, which obtained 35 signatures from local residents in Ballyspillane West, said it was untrue for Terra Solar, which is based in the UCD Campus in Belfield, to claim the proposed site of the solar farm was poor-quality land — potatoes, fodder beet, and grain crops have been harvested there over the years.

The group said the size and scale of the project was vast compared to dozens of other solar farms planned for Cork.

They also claimed the applicant failed to mention that there were several protected species including buzzards, kestrels, and bats in the area.

One couple living in Ballyspillane West complained about the scale of the project, which they described as “breathtaking”.

They claimed the proximity of the solar farm to their home was “unsettling”.

They have also raised concerns about the condition of the roads, drainage, ground contamination, as well as noise pollution.


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