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03 Dec 2021

Windfarm on Laois Kildare border turned down on appeal from firm that wants to build bigger one near Mountmellick

The Skatcraft company owned by Norway wants has appealed refusal for a bigger farm in Laois

Laois councillors vote narrowly to make Laois a no go county for wind turbines

FILE PHOTO

A Norweigan wind power company that has appealed Laois County Council's decision to refuse permission for eight big wind turbines has lost a similar appeal to windfarm on the Laois Kildare border.  

An Bord Pleanála has upheld the decision by Kildare County Council to refuse planning permission for a proposed new wind farm for the Monasterevin area on the Laois Kildare border.

Ummeras Wind Farm Ltd (Statkraft), which is owned by Norway, proposed to build five 169m high turbines in the townlands of Ummeras Beg, Coolatogher, Mullaghroe Lower, Ummeras More and Coolsickin/Quinsborough.

Last March, the Council refused the application due to concerns about an Air Corps flight path as well as ecological and road network issues.

The refusal was appealed to An Bord Pleanála which has now upheld the decision.

The Board referred to the maximum blade tip height of 169m of the proposed project which it said is within the area of a low-level flight route used by the Air Corps.

The Board added: "It is considered that the proposed development would endanger or interfere with the safety of aircraft or the safe and efficient navigation thereof and would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area."

Over 170 submissions were made by local residents, politicians, Kildare Failte, the Irish Peatland Conservation Council and the Irish Aviation Authority to the initial planning application.

Residents also raised concerns about the possible impact the facility would have on the Ballykelly distillery project, the €5m investment in the Blueway Grand Canal cycle and walkways, and the development of Umeras Peatland Park.

The Monasterevin Rathangan Wind Awareness Group also raised these concerns with An Bord Pleanála after Statkraft lodged its appeal back in April.

Statkraft Ireland Limited was refused permission to build higher turbines in townlands of Dernacart, Forest Upper & Forest Lower along the N80 near Mountmellick in Co Laois. The impact on the bat population was a main reason for turning the 185 metre structures down. The rotar blade of the turbines could have extended to 170 meteres.

There were several representations about the turbines from local residents and politicians including from Government TDs Charlie Flanagan and Minister Sean Fleming. 

Minister Fleming said there development was premature while Dep Flanagan asked that the views of the residents be taken into account. Many residents opposed the turbines.

Fully owned by the Norwegian state, the Statkraft Group is a generator of renewable energy, as well as Norway’s largest and the Nordic region’s third largest energy producer.

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