Environmentalist challenges offshore wind farm decision

ireland
Counsel said that while it was not known how many turbines are proposed to be built under the next phase, originally it was envisaged that up to 200 turbines would be constructed on the site off the Wicklow coast,
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Ann O'Loughlin

Environmental activist Peter Sweetman has launched a High Court challenge over a decision to allow investigative works take place as part of a plan to expand an off-shore wind farm.

The challenge is over decisions made by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage last October to grant a foreshore licence to carry out site investigation works in an area off the Co Wicklow Coast, near Arklow.

The alleged purpose of the site investigation is to expand the existing number of wind-generating turbines from the existing seven up to a maximum of 200, it is claimed.

As a result, Mr Sweetman has brought judicial review proceedings.

He seeks various orders including one quashing the decisions to grant the licence.

EU directive

In his action Mr Sweetman claims the decisions to grant the licence are invalid as they allegedly contravene various sections of the EU directive on Habitats.

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He also claims there was a failure by the Ministers to publish the making of the decisions challenged or make available for public inspection any determination made in relation to the decisions.

He further claims that in breach of fair procedures no reasons have been given for the making of the decisions challenged.

Sure Partners Limited, which sought permission from the respondents to carry out the site inspections, are notice parties to the proceedings.

The matter came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday.

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Following submissions from James Devlin SC with Margaret Heavey Bl instructed by solicitor Brian Harrington the judge granted Mr Sweetman permission to bring his challenge.

Counsel said that seven turbines had been built under the first phase of this project.

While it was not known how many turbines are proposed to be built under the next phase, counsel said that originally it was envisaged that up to 200 turbines would be constructed on the site off the Wicklow coast, he added.

Permission was granted on an ex-parte basis, and the matter was adjourned to a date in March.

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