GORDON DEEGAN An Bord Pleanála has refused Coillte planning permission for the construction of a seven turbine wind farm on an upland site in Co Carlow.
The appeals board ruling upheld a decision by Carlow County Council to refuse planning permission for the 38.5MW wind farm in March 2021, after receiving more than 280 third party submissions.
Coillte lodged a first-party appeal against the refusal and the Irish Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Martina Kinsella, Patrick McLean, the Save Mount Leinster group and Sarah Durdin Robertson lodged third-party appeals asking that the grounds for refusal be strengthened.
In its appeal, Coillte said there was an overarching requirement for each county to facilitate renewable energy development to meet Climate Action Plan targets. It also argued that if the proposed development did not proceed, Carlow County Council would be significantly deficient in their contribution to onshore renewable energy targets.
However, the appeals board ruled that the wind farm proposed for a 246-hectare site at Croaghaun Mountain should be refused planning permission as it contravened the Carlow County Development Plan.
Not normally be permitted
The appeals board said the proposed site was within the designated Blackstairs and Mount Leinster Uplands Landscape Character Area, where wind farm development would not normally be permitted.
As a part of the project Coillte was set to pay €5 million into a community fund over 35 years.
The association for hang gliding and paragliding told the appeals board that Croaghaun Mountain had been in use by free flyers since the 1970s and was used for national competitions.
A total of 141 observations were made to the appeals board.