Offaly wind farm challenge before High Court

Friday 01 August 2014 22.39
Residents claim decision over Co Offaly wind farm is flawed
Residents claim decision over Co Offaly wind farm is flawed

A High Court challenge has been brought against An Bord Pleanála's decision to grant planning permission for a wind farm development in Co Offaly.

An Bord Pleanála granted Green Wind Energy (Wexford) Ltd permission last to construct 29 electricity generating wind turbines with a maximum height of up to 166 metres, along with ancillary buildings, on a site just north of Rhode.

In High Court proceedings challenging that decision local residents Stephen Carroll and Joanne Addie and environmental campaigner Peter Sweetman say the decision is flawed and should be quashed.

They claim an inadequate Environment Impact Assessment was carried out by the planning authority before consent to construct the project was given.

They allege the EIA conducted by the board failed to identify, describe and assess the direct and indirect effects the development will have on people, flora and fauna, soil, water, air climate and the landscape.

It is also claimed that in compiling the EIA, the planning authority failed to properly take into account submissions made by members of the public during the public consultation process.

In their proceedings against the board the residents, who are both members of the Rhode Parish Wind Turbine Action Group, and Mr Sweetman are seeking an order quashing the board's decision to grant planning permission for the proposed wind farm.

They are also seeking a number of declarations including that the decision breaches EU directives on the effects certain projects have on the environment.

They also seek a declaration from the court that a proper EIA, as required under EU Directives, was not carried out by the board before permission to construct the wind farm was granted.

They have secured permission from Judge Marie Baker to challenge the planning authority's decision to give the wind farm development the go ahead. Permission was granted on an ex parte basis, where only one side was represented in court.

Offaly Co Council and Green Wind Energy Ltd are notice parties to the proceedings.

The case will return before the High Court in November.