Stud farmer challenges solar farm development

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Tim Healy

A Wicklow stud farmer has brought a High Court challenge over a decision to allow a solar power facility be built on lands adjoining his property.

James Kavanagh, of Templerainey, Arklow, operates his farm beside a 59-hectare site for the proposed solar development.

The facility proposes to generate between 20 and 30 megawatts from solar energy. It will consist of solar panels mounted on steel supports, and will also include a substation, electrical transformer, security fencing and access roads.

He wants the High Court to quash An Bord Pleanála's decision of February 21 last to grant permission.

He claims the board erred in law by finding that the development is not subject to and does not require an Environmental Impact Assessment.

He also claims that the board also erred by failing to carry out a screening assessment.

Wicklow Co Council had previously granted planning permission  which Mr Kavanagh appealed to the board. 

The permission was granted to Highfield Solar Limited for the development a Ballinclea, Ballyrichard, Templerainey.

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The action is against the board, Ireland and the Attorney General, while the developer and Wicklow Co Council are notice parties to the action.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted on an ex parte (one side only represented) basis by Mr Justice  Seamus Noonan, who also placed a stay on the development until further order of the court.

The case comes back in July.

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