Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 29 April 2017

Company challenges planning refusal for massive solar farm

Typical example of a solar farm. Stock image.
Typical example of a solar farm. Stock image.

Tim Healy

A legal challenge has been brought over a refusal to give the go ahead for a solar power generating facility in Wexford. 

The action has been brought by Highfield Solar Limited against An Bord Pleanala over its decision last month to refuse the company permission to construct a photovoltaic (pv) energy development on a 90 hectare site near Killinick. 

The proposed facility, known as Grahormick Solar Farm, will consist of a single story 38kv electrical substation building, electrical building, solar pv panels ground mounted on steel supports, 6km of new roads, and 13km of electric cabling. 

Wexford Co. Council, which in August 2016 refused permission for the development, is a notice party in the company's proceedings which have come before the High Court.

Highfield, with a registered address at Old Castle View, Kilgobbin Road, Dublin 18, claims the board abdicated its responsibility by refusing permission on the basis it would be premature to develop the solar farm before any national or regional strategy on such developments had been adopted. 

There is no provision in the planning laws that allows the Board refuse or defer consideration of a planning application for a solar farm development because there is no national strategy in place, the company claims. 

The company also argues the decision is inconsistent as the board has granted permission for other solar developments in other parts of the country, including one in Co Longford and at another location in Co Wexford. 

Permission to bring the action, was granted on a (one side only represented) ex parte basis, on Monday by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan. The Judge made the matter returnable to a date in May.  

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