Wednesday 16 October 2019

Solar developer to appeal as project refused over airport glare concerns


The panels would have occupied a 100-acre site (stock image)
The panels would have occupied a 100-acre site (stock image)

Fearghal O'Connor

JBM Developments is to appeal to An Bord Pleanala after it was refused permission to build a 100-acre solar farm next to Dublin Airport.

The company had applied to Fingal County Council to build the 23-megawatt photovoltaic project at a site known as The Fruit Farm in Kilsallaghan, halfway between Swords and Ashbourne. Permission for an "integrated tourism and recreational complex" was previously refused at the site.

However, the planning authority turned down permission for the huge array of glass panels on ground-mounted frames after a Dublin Airport Authority submission raised concerns about possible "glint and glare" interference with aircraft using the proposed new northern runway at the airport.

JBM had failed to demonstrate that it "would not impact upon important aviation receptors at Dublin Airport", said the planner's report. It also raised ongoing wider concerns that there are no national guidelines for solar farms, despite a huge increase in the number of proposals lodged to planning authorities over the past year.

"In the absence of guidance at national, regional and local level in relation to the appropriate location, scale and distribution of future proposals for solar power, the Planning Authority is not satisfied that the development ... would not seriously injure the amenities of the area."

It said the proposal may be "premature" pending the adoption of such guidelines. The planners also raised concerns about the scale of the development and said it would represent an incongruous and dominant feature in the rural landscape.

But JBM director Brendan O'Brien told the Sunday Independent that the company "fundamentally disagrees with the reasons for refusal and will be appealing to An Bord Pleanala".

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