McCarthy Keville O'Sullivan Ltd. has recently secured planning permission for our clients PWWP Developments Ltd., for three wind farm developments in County Mayo. The three wind farms are all located to the east of Claremorris, Co. Mayo, at Magheramore (and surrounding townlands), Ballykinava (and surrounding townlands) and Cloontooa (and surrounding townlands), and will provide a total of 19 no. wind turbines with a maximum ground to tip height of up to 156.5.
All three projects were supported by detailed Environmental Impact Statements, prepared by McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan Ltd. that assessed each of the projects both individually and cumulatively. The Planning Authority, Mayo County Council granted permission (following requests for Further Information) for all three projects on the 8th of October 2014.
Each of the Planning Authority decisions were subject to a First Party appeal (prepared by McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan Ltd.) in relation to specific conditions that had been attached, as well as several Third Party appeals. McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan provided comprehensive responses to all third party appeals.
Subsequent to the lodgement of the appeal the O’Grianna/Peart judgement was issued by the High Court, which essentially ruled that connection routes to the national grid must form part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which must be carried out prior to granting permission for any relevant wind farm developments. The details of this case have been previously discussed in our April 2015 newsletter – http://www.mccarthykos.ie/News/April-2015/Update-in-Relation-to-OGrianna-Wind-Farm-Case , with a further update being provided in the current issue of our newsletter.
Following the High Court judgement, and at the request of An Bord Pleanála, additional details were provided to the Bord by McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan (including an amended Natura Impact Statement (NIS) and an addendum to the Environmental Impact Statement) which incorporated sufficient details of the proposed connection to the National Grid to allow An Bord Pleanála to consider the entirety of the various proposals.
Having considered all relevant matters An Bord Pleanála issued a decision to grant permission in all three cases. In granting permission, the Bord, while supporting the overall decisions issued by the Planning Authority, also accepted the matters raised in the First Party Appeals that had been prepared by McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan and amended the wording of the relevant conditions. Furthermore, the Bord noted that the proposed developments would be consistent with National and County policies in respect of wind energy, would not result in detrimental visual or landscape impacts and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
The final grant of permission allows a period of up to ten years to construct the wind farm and, once commissioned, the wind farms can operate for 25 years under the current permission.
The EIS project management included co-ordination of geotechnical, hydrological, noise, archaeological and traffic sub-consultants, with all other EIS sections being completed by in-house staff. Specialist EIA work undertaken includes extensive year-round bird surveying and assessment, detailed ecological constraints mapping and landscape character assessment.
For further information on the environmental impact assessment and planning consultancy services that McCarthy Keville O'Sullivan Ltd. can provide for wind farm projects, contact our office on 091 735 611.