Irish High Court Slams Cork Wind Farm

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High Court overturns permission for Cork wind farm
The Irish Times
Mary Carolan
25 February 2016

Judge says process used by An Bord Pleanála did not comply with Irish law

The High Court has overturned a grant of planning permission for a wind farm near Inchigeelagh, Co Cork.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton ruled the permission must be quashed after finding that the process under which An Bord Pleanála had decided relevant issues concerning compliance with two European Directives – the Habitats Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive – did not comply with Irish law.

The judge, whose written judgment will be formally published later, adjourned making formal orders in the case to March 10th.

The legal challenge was brought by Klaus Balz and Hanna Heubach, Bearr na Gaoithe, Inchigeelagh, over An Bord Pleanála’s grant of permission to Cleanrath Windfarm Ltd to construct 11 turbines up to a height of 126m, and other structures including a 85m meteorological mast, at Cleanrath, Co Cork.

The couple operate a shrubbery business located some 650m from the nearest turbine on the proposed development.

Cork County Council had refused permission for the project in June 2011 because it considered that would result in destruction of a a habitat of high ecological value and have a major impact on an area of high local biodiversity value, the court heard.

Because of this, the council held the proposed development would materially contravene the stated objectives of its current development plan.

The council’s refusal was successfully appealed to An Bord Pleanála which in April 2013 granted permission.

The couple, represented by Eamon Galligan SC, instructed by solicitor Joe Noonan,  then initiated their judicial review proceedings against the Board with the council and Cleanrath Windfarm Ltd as notice parties.

The couple argued the board’s decision was flawed on grounds including failure to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) concerning the project.

The board, it was claimed, failed to carry out an appropriate assessment, as required under the Habitats Directive,  on nearby sites such as the Gearagh Special Area of Conservation and the Mullaghanish to Musheramore Special Protection Areas.
The Irish Times

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About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    “failed to carry out an appropriate assessment”, I expect there are a number of such occurrences here in Australia when environmental assessment reports are based on old information/research which may or may not be relevant to current conditions and future industrialisation of districts.
    Silverton is an example of this where a lizard had been wrongly identified as living in the area, where the one that does is far more endangered and only lives in that area.
    Each assessment should be undertaken in full at the site and not rely on old reports unrelated to the possible construction/installation of an industrial estate. Each report should be based on current and specific research undertaken for the project. That is – no short cuts – by using out dated information gleaned from others work untreated to the project currently being assessed.
    Of course it will cost more for the projects financiers and take longer to produce but isn’t the environment something they are meant to be wanting to save, so a thorough comprehensive assessment should be mandatory?
    To many of the current reports are created without comprehensive ‘field’ work undertaken over and across all seasons, they are based largely on ‘desktop’ information and once only walk through and in some cases drive through look and see’s where they don’t even get out of the car.
    Yes some of this information is of relevance but certainly not all.
    The reports make little of the effects of these projects on the surrounding environment and ecosystems, the research they rely on seems to have been undertaken to assess the then current state of the districts and or flora and fauna. Much of the research utilised did not cover what would happen if changes to the environment etc by the introduction of large industrial estates, it should be the role of the Company’s reports to comprehensively assess the damage such installations could cause – not just give it ‘lip service’ by saying one or two birds may be killed so that’s OK, or such other dismissive comments designed to meet the companies wishes that nothing should stop the progress of their projects and should give the impression they are all squeaky clean and environmentally sound.
    The EPBC needs to ensure every project report has been undertaken to a high standard with current research and relevant accurately and comprehensively considered conclusions produced. If they don’t then they should automatically return the reports and request the work be undertaken before they will consider the proposal. Also EVERY project should have to go to the EOBC whether there are currently listed flora and fauna or not, to ensure nothing has been missed or wrongly identified.

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