Sunday 26 September 2010

West Clare wind farm plan faces first appeal

THE FIRST of what is expected to be a number of appeals has been lodged against plans to construct a €200 million wind farm on Mount Callan in west Clare.

Last month, Clare County Council granted planning permission to West Clare Renewable Energy Ltd for the 28-turbine wind farm. The proposed 410ft-high wind farm on 3,000 acres of upland around Mount Callan will provide sufficient energy to power 59,000 homes.

However, an appeal has now been lodged against the development by Connellan Associates, on behalf of Noel Connellan. A decision by An Bord Pleanála is not expected until next year.

In the appeal, Connellan Associates acknowledge that while Slieve Callan is zoned as a strategic area for wind farming, the area is also designated as “visually vulnerable”. The appeal states: “The more robust the landscape, the greater the flexibility to locate a development of this nature.

“The area around Slieve Callan is not robust in this sense. It is a gentle landscape.”

The appeal also claims that villages such as Connolly would be adversely affected.

If granted planning permission, the development is expected to provide 30 farmers with an aggregate €775,000 each year from the 20-year operation of the wind farm.

The dividend equates to €516,666 for each of the farmers over the course of the project.

The local communities of Connolly, Inagh, Kilmurry Ibrickane, Miltown Malbay and Kilmaley are also to benefit by receiving €46,500 per annum when the wind farm is fully operational.

The promoters state that in total the project will provide €26 million to the landowners, local community and Clare County Council over its duration. The council will receive €10 million in rates during the course of the wind-farm plan.

Irish Times

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