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Turbines taller than Spire get green light despite fears over environmental impact

Planning permission had previously been refused due to concerns over the site’s impact on a protected bird species and local bogs.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: wind turbines via Shutterstock

PLANNING PERMISSION HAS been granted for a multi-million wind farm in Tipperary despite fears over its impact on the local environment.

Permission was previously refused by North Tipperary County Council after one of An Bord Pleanála’s inspectors noted concerns over peat spillage and potential destruction of the habitat of a protected bird. An appeal was launched by ESB Wind Development Limited and Coillte.

The site, at Keeper’s Hill in Tipperary, will consist of 16 wind turbines with a maximum height of close to 150 metres, more than 30 metres taller than Dublin’s Spire and under three times the height of Liberty Hall.

It will be located close to three sites designated as special areas of conservation.

One of these includes the habitat of the Hen Harrier, a protected species with a declining breeding population.

Blauwe Kiekendief, Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus). Hen Harrier Source: geishatara via Flickr/Creative Commons

“The Board is satisfied that no adverse long-term implications for Hen Harrier would arise,” the ruling reads, “and the Board concluded that the proposed development, by itself, or in combination with other plans or projects, would not adversely affect the integrity of these European sites, in view of the conservation objectives for the sites.”

The ruling also notes that peat slippage is not a major concern, “being relatively firm underfoot and quite fibrous in nature”, and that the site is not located close to any major watercourses.

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An Bord Pleanála accepted that the wind farm “would be visually prominent in some views”, but that it would not be overly dominate from a local Protected View site.

In conclusion, the appeals board said that the development:

… would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity, would not result in detrimental visual or landscape impacts, would not give rise to pollution, would not be injurious to the cultural heritage of the area, would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience, and would not be prejudicial to public health.

You can read the full ruling here.

Read: This wind turbine caught fire and threw a flaming blade dozens of metres >

More: Wind meeting 2% more electricty demand than last year >

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Nicky Ryan

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