An Bord Pleanála has dismissed appeals by environmentalists to grant planning permission for a new data storage campus near Bracetown, Co Meath.

The decision by the appeals board now gives EngineNode permission to proceed with the project that is set to generate 500 jobs during the construction phase and around 275 jobs when operational.

Facebook already operates a data centre in close proximity to the EngineNode proposal.

However, even before works can commence, the costs to EngineNode will be high.

This follows An Bord Pleanála's rejection of a first party appeal by EngineNode to set aside a condition in the original grant of permission by Meath County Council where the Council demanded €1.8 million in planning contributions towards a new road before work can start on the project.

The Council told An Bord Pleanála that the costs of constructing the distributor road will come to €12.8m.

The appeals board has ruled that the condition demanding the €1.85m be retained.

The company also faces a hefty bill towards the financing of the Navan to Dublin rail-line Phase 1 - Clonsilla to Dunboyne.

The Council initially put the financial contribution towards the rail-line at €2.29m that can be paid in phases.

The senior appeals board inspector in the case, Karla McBride, agreed with the €2.29m contribution and the board has ruled that the payment will be in accordance with the Council's Supplementary Development Contributions Scheme.

In a bid to stop the project from proceeding, An Taisce and Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) last year lodged appeals against the decision by Meath County Council to grant planning permission to EngineNode Ltd.

In the appeal, An Taisce claimed that Ireland already hosts a disproportionate amount of Western Europe's data infrastructure and Ireland’s bid to attract new data centres is putting significant pressure on the national grid.

FIE told the appeals board that at the time of lodging the appeal, there were 10 data centres under construction that will add 202MW and 31 that have planning permission which would add 629MW.

The FIE report stated that by 2028, data centres will consume 28% of Ireland’s electricity.

Another appellant, local resident and operator of a nearby equestrian business, Mannix Coyne, told the appeals board in his appeal that the scale and size of the development "will entirely dwarf our residence".

Mr Coyne stated: "Our landscape view will be dramatically changed forever. Instead of living in a pleasant rural location, we shall now be living in the middle of an intensive industrial estate."

However, Senior Planning Inspector with the appeals board, Karla McBride said that notwithstanding the anticipated demand for energy to serve the data centre…"I am satisfied that this issue will be ultimately addressed as Ireland moves towards its objective of providing 70 per cent of its energy renewable sources by 2030".

Ms McBride ruled that the proposal would not injure the amenities of any houses or commercial buildings in the vicinity to any significant extent.