Raptor group to challenge Barnesmore wind farm plan

A HIGH Court challenge has been launched against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission for a controversial proposed 19 turbine wind farm in Donegal.
The Irish Raptor Study Group, represented by its chairman Ryan Wilson-Parr, is seeking a judicial review to challenge An Bord Pleanála’s grant of planning permission for the wind farm near Barnesmore Gap.
Approval for the project, which had attracted strong local opposition, comes with conditions, including shadow flicker requirements.
The development, which has been proposed by Planree Ltd, will have a capacity of more than 50 MW and feature turbines with ground to blade tip heights of up to 156.5 metres (513.5 ft). The developers say the proposal has the potential to generate electricity for 29,000 households.
The project is a revision to a 49-turbine wind farm which was rejected by the Board in 2016.
On Wednesday, the High Court will be asked to rule on whether An Bord Pleanála properly assessed the environmental impact on the habitat of the raptor within the proposed €85m wind farm in Donegal.
The Judicial review is being brought by the Irish Raptor Study Group. The deponent Ryan Wilson Parr, chairman, and they are being represented by FP Logue, Solicitors, Dublin.
Mr Fred Logue, solicitor, confirmed that Mr Justice Barniville is due to hear the case on Wednesday.
Both he and Mr Parr said that a press release would be issued after the hearing.
The Irish Raptor Study Group did issue a statement on its Facebook page to say that they were extremely disappointed to hear of An Bord Pleanála approval for a 19 turbine development in Donegal at the end of June.
“IRSG objected on Ecology grounds due to concern over loss of Annex I protected habitat (blanket bog) and that the wind farm was being built within a recognised important breeding area for Raptors – the developers consultants did not find or report any in the impact assessment, despite independent monitoring confirming there where actually two pairs of breeding Raptors within the footprint of the wind farm.
“Just because this is a Strategic Infrastructure Development does not mean An Bord Pleanála can ignore clear breaches of the Habitats Directive, Birds Directive and EIA Directive,” the Facebook post read.

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