Decision made on wind farm planned in Laois

Wind farm planned in Laois has been refused

A windfarm planned for Laois has been refused permission by Laois County Council today.

Statkraft had applied to build eight wind turbines 185 metres tall, in the Forest Upper, Forest Lower and Dernacart rural area outside Mountmellick, off the N80 Tullamore road.

Their plans received many local objections from residents.

Minister Sean Fleming had sent a submission against the development saying it was against World Health Organisation guidelines, it would make large tracts of land uninhabitable for housing, and could impact on Mountmellick's flood risk.

The Department of Heritage said the impact on the hen harrier bird of prey was not adequately assessed. Laois ornithologist Ricky Whelan also noted that the development is beside Bord na Mona's decomissioned Garryhinch bog which he said is possibly the largest hen harrier nesting site in the country.

Deputy Charlie Flanagan had asked that residents of Forest, Clonaghadoo and Geashill were concerned and should be consulted.

The residents raised many concerns including for water quality, flooding, noise and visual impact, traffic, health implications, property devaluation, wildlife damage,  and said it did not comply with EU directives.  

Bord na Móna who own bogs beside the development, and owns Mount Lucas windfarm in Offaly, had submitted a welcome but said that six of the turbines were too close to its land. 

This Wednesday, May 5, the council gave its decision against the development. 

The decision may well be appealed by Statkraft to An Bórd Pleanála.

The wind turbines are one of many planned by the Norwegian founded energy company in the Laois, Offaly and Kildare bogland areas.

Umeras windfarm with five 169m turbines was refused by Kildare County Council in March but appealed by Statkraft to An Bord Pleanala. It would be between Monasterevin and Rathangan. The decision is due this August. 

Another nine 187m turbines were approved by ABP last October after initially being turned down by Offaly County Council. 

They will stretch over 63 hectares from Geashill to Edenderry and Carbury on the Kildare border. Statkraft is the majority shareholder of Cloncant Renewable Energy Ltd, the company behind it.

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