An Bord Pleanála has been given permission to appeal a court decision quashing a planning permission granted to a subsidiary of Bord Na Móna to build a windfarm.
The application relates to a 24-turbine wind farm, which if constructed to its maximum dimensions, would be the joint tallest structures in Ireland, with a tip height of 185m.
In his judgment earlier this year Mr Justice Richard Humphreys in the High Court upheld a challenge brought by environmentalist Peter Sweetman against the proposal to build a wind farm at Mountdillon Peat Production Bog, near Lanesborough, in Co Longford.
The judge quashed the permission on grounds including that the application to build the wind farm did not contain the level of detail required to allow the planning authority grant permission.
Mr Sweetman's action was against An Bord Pleanala, Ireland and the Attorney General. The developer of the proposed wind farm, Bord Na Móna Powergen Limited, is a notice party to the proceedings.
Court of Appeal
Arising out of the judgment the board and the developer sought permission from the judge to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal (COA).
In a ruling on Tuesday the judge said he was prepared to allow an appeal, adding that perhaps the issues raised in the case might benefit from "a leapfrog" appeal direct to the Supreme Court.
The points of exceptional public importance to be referred to the COA relate to Irish domestic law, he said.
The judge added that before the order granting leave to appeal is perfected he was also giving Mr Sweetman an opportunity to consider if he wishes to cross appeal any aspect of his decision.
Permission to construct the wind farm was granted in June 2020. As the proposed wind farm was deemed to be strategic infrastructure the developer made the application directly to An Bord Pleanála.
In his action Mr Sweetman claimed the board had erred in law in accepting an application without an appropriate level of detail in respect of design contrary to EU law and domestic Planning & Development Regulations 2001.
The plans and particulars lodged by the developer in respect of the turbines which is one of if not the largest series of structures ever to be constructed in Ireland had no detail in terms of their design relative to their particular siting and were completely inadequate, it was also argued.
The documents lodged showed virtually no detail and no specific detail and given the scale and extent of the development, and the likely consequences and impacts, it was impossible to formulate any definitive findings in respect of the wind farm's impact, it was further claimed.
The board and the notice party both opposed Mr Sweetman's application.