Met Éireann Kerry move appealed

PLANS by Met Éireann to relocate the air monitoring part of its operations in south Kerry onto Valentia Island to avail of a cleaner environment have been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Last month, Kerry County Council gave the go-ahead for the erection of two 10-metre air and environmental monitoring masts along with a laboratory on a remote 59-acre island site.

The proposal had attracted a large number of local objections and a number of conditions were attached to the grant of planning.

An Taisce, however, has appealed the decision. Its planning officer Dr Catherine McMullin said the site was in “a highly scenic coastal area” and part of its attraction was the remoteness. It held designations as both a special protection area and a natural heritage area. “It’s a haven for birds and treasured by bird- watchers,” she said.

Dr McMullin also said erection of the masts and a sunken building would introduce “an industrial-type building” into an unspoilt environment.

The unit is currently located on the mainland near Cahersiveen and monitors background pollution coming in over the Atlantic.

Met Éireann said the move was necessary because the site had become compromised by over-development in recent years.

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