Plans for nine large-scale wind turbines in Westmeath have been rejected by An Bord Pleanála.

BREAKING: South Westmeath windfarm refused permission by An Bord Pleanála

A controversial plan to develop a windfarm between Moyvoughley and Drumraney in South Westmeath has been turned down by An Bord Pleanála.

The proposed windfarm, known as the Umma More Renewable Energy Development, would have consisted of nine turbines with a tip height of 185 metres.

According to the planning application, which was lodged last March, eighteen landowners gave consent to have their land used for the proposed development which was devised in association with Cork-based company Enerco Energy Ltd.

However there was opposition locally to the project, with a community group campaigning against it under the heading, 'No to Wind Farm in Ballymore, Drumraney, Moyvoughley Area'.

A report on the development last year by Westmeath County Council CEO Pat Gallagher, and a team of three senior council officials, said the local authority did not recommend approval for the project.

In a decision signed off last week, the planning board the board cited a stipulation in Westmeath Development Plan as a reason for the refusing permission.

"The Westmeath County Development Plan 2021-2027... seeks to direct large-scale energy production projects in the form of wind farms onto cutover cutaway peatlands in the county," noted the board.

It said that, as a result, the Umma More proposal, was "contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area".

It also said it was not clear that "the methodology applied to the collision risk of birds with turbines" in the plans was "scientifically robust".

The board said it had not been satisfied that the project would not interfere with conservation objectives relating to the Black-headed Gull and Lapwing bird species.

The decision also noted that the Hill of Uisneach in Westmeath had been included on "Ireland's 2020 UNESCO World Heritage Tentative list for World Heritage Site Status".

It said that Uisneach's inclusion on the tentative list meant that if the board had been "minded to grant permission" it would have required more information from the applicant "to address this matter" of the possible UNESCO status in the locality in future.

"As the board agreed with the inspector's recommendation to refuse permission, the board did not pursue this matter further," it concluded.