Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Photo: Finbarr O’Rourke


THERE was a mixture of delight and relief as an appeal to develop a wind farm on the slopes of Mount Leinster was rejected by An Bord Pleanála last week.

The Croaghaun Wind Farm would have seen the development of seven wind turbines with a maximum blade tip height of 178 metres in the townlands of Rossacura, Cranemore, Kilbranish North, Bealalaw, Raheenleigh and Aclare. The Save Mount Leinster Group had said the development would destroy an area of unique natural beauty.

Carlow County Council had refused planning permission back in 2021, but Coillte then lodged an appeal to An Bord Pleanála (ABP).

“It’s great new for us,” said Joe Kirwan of the Save Mount Leinster Group. “The main feeling was relief; it had gone on so long, we had not expected the decision. We did not know when it would happen as (ABP) has been in a bit of turmoil.”

Rejecting the appeal, ABP cited the area’s landscape character and that a wind farm development would not normally be permissible in such an area under Carlow’s County Development Plan.

The board said the wind farm “would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.

Mr Kirwan believed it would be disrespectful for the developer to go for a judicial review – which is an option for them – following the decisions by Carlow County Council and ABP, and the views of the overwhelming majority of people in the area.

“They would do right just to leave it,” he said.

The wind farm proposal is now under the control of FuturEnergy, an ESB-Coillte joint venture. A spokesperson said: “FuturEnergy Ireland acknowledges the decision reached by An Bord Pleanála regarding the proposed Croaghaun Wind Farm in Co Carlow. We would note that the inspector’s report has not yet been published. Our project team will review this report in detail when it is published and will consider any further steps at this time.”

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