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Planning failure at Derrybrien wind farm reaches total cost to State of €6.2 million

The Derrybrien wind farm, which ceased operations last year, was originally constructed two decades ago.

THE STATE MUST pay the European Union another €1.245 million over a failure to comply with environmental rules at the Derrybrien wind farm in Co Galway. 

The amount comes on top of an initial lump sum of €5 million that was paid in January 2020.

The Derrybrien wind farm, which ceased operations last year, was originally constructed two decades ago. 

A landslide during construction in 2003 brought to the site to attention and the Court of Justice ruled in 2008 that an environmental impact assessment should have been conducted before the development was given permission to proceed.

Another case in 2019 reaffirmed that Ireland had failed to comply with requirements.

The court issued a lump sum fine of €5 million and an ongoing fine of €15,000 per day from the date of the judgment in November 2019 until the terms of the judgment were complied with.

The Department of Housing and Local Government has confirmed today that the Commission has ruled Ireland complied with the judgement from 4 February 2022 when An Bord Pleanála refused an application at the site.

The daily fines incurred during the four-month period amounted to €1,245,000, while the €5 million lump sum was paid in 2020.

In a statement this afternoon, the department said that it “has received a response confirming that the Commission consider that, on foot of An Bord Pleanála’s decision of 4 February 2022 to refuse substitute consent, Ireland has taken all measures necessary to ensure compliance with the judgment”.

“Once the final instalment of daily fines is paid, Commission services will initiate an internal process to propose to the College of Commissioners to close this file. This final instalment of daily fines covers the period 13 November 2021 to 4 February 2022. The final sum due to be paid is €1,245,000.” 

The ESB permanently ceased operations at Derrybrien in March 2022 and intends to fully decommission the site.

“The exact details in relation to the future of the site in terms of decommissioning and site restoration is a matter for Galway County Council and the owner of the site to address, noting the planning enforcement role of the County Council as the relevant planning authority,” the department said.

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