File pic

ABP refuse planning for Coole wind farm

An Bord Pleanála (ABP) has refused planning permission for a wind farm in north Westmeath. The application by Coole Windfarm Limited, a subsidiary of Statkraft Ireland, was for 15 turbines on land in Coole and neighbouring townlands.

In the application, which went straight to An Bord Pleanála as it was classified as a Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID), Coole Windfarm Ltd also sought permission to lay 26km of underground cabling from the windfarm site to the ESB substation at Irishtown.

ABP refused permission on a number of environmental grounds, including concerns about the proposed development’s draining system and the impact “of construction works on exposed peat and the wider exploited peat basins”.

The board also said that on the basis of the information provided by the developer relating to site drainage and collision risk modelling for birds, it “cannot be satisfied that the proposed development… would not be likely to have a significant effect on European Site Lough Derravaragh Special Protection Area”.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner, chair of the North Westmeath Turbine Action Group (NWTAG), Jen Gallagher, said that local campaigners were “elated” with the ruling. Ms Gallagher said that the group, which has been fighting the development of a wind farm in the Coole area for almost a decade, was “reassured” that the board had taken into account their concerns about the environmental impact of the proposed development.

“It’s wonderful to see that the points made in our submission were taken into consideration by ABP.

“We knew our arguments were strong and valid and that they were in line with EU directives.”