Monaghan windfarm planning dispute set for court

business
Challenge has been brought against An Bord Pleanála's refusal to grant planning permission for a connector linking a wind farm to the national power grid
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Ann O'Loughlin

A challenge has been brought against An Bord Pleanála's refusal to grant planning permission for a connector linking a wind farm to the national power grid.

The action has been brought by Coolberrin Wind Farm Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Energia Group, which intends to develop an electricity generating wind farm in Co Monaghan.

The proposed seven turbine wind farm and the associated connector, the court heard, will cost €26.2 million to build and will generate 65 jobs during the 18-month construction period.

It secured planning permission for the connector from Monaghan Co Council. That decision was appealed to the board by An Taisce, the heritage and environmental NGO.

Environmental effects

Permission was refused on the basis that insufficient information had been provided by the developer to show that there would be an absence of significant environmental effects if the proposed grid connector were to be constructed.

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The board held that there was insufficient information provided to show what effects the proposed development would have in relation to populations of the Curlew and Hen Harrier species of birds in the locality.

Coolberrin, which disputes the decision says that the grid connector is a vital element of the proposed wind farm, and that without it the wind farm will not be built.

As a result of the board's decision to refuse permission, the developer has brought High Court proceedings aimed at quashing the board's decision.

Commercial court list

It also seeks declarations including that the board's erred in law, took account of irrelevant considerations and applied incorrect legal tests when arriving at its decision

An Taisce, and Monaghan Co Council are notice parties to the proceedings.

This week the case was admitted to the commercial court list by Mr Justice David Barniville, before being transferred to the court's strategic infrastructure development and commercial planning list, which is managed by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys.

On Thursday Mr Justice Humphreys, granted the applicant permission to bring the action, which he adjourned to a date in December.

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