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Pair of Castlelyons solar farms given the green light

Amarenco Solar have now been granted permission for nine solar farms in Cork

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A pair of Castlelyons solar farms have been given the green light

A pair of Castlelyons solar farms have been given the green light

A pair of Castlelyons solar farms have been given the green light

corkman

The planning appeals board has rubber-stamped decisions by Cork County Council to give the green light to two solar farms in the Castlelyons area. 

Early last year planners with the local authority granted permission to Amarenco Solar for the two facilities at Ballinvarrig East, Deerpark, Castlelyons; and Corrin/Kill Saint Anne North, Castlelyons. 

The decision to grant permission for the Ballinvarrig East facility came almost a year after an application for a similar facility on the same site was refused. 

Both applications made provision for five-megawatt solar farms each comprised of some 22,200 photovoltaic panels on sites measuring more than eight hectares. with associated buildings including inverter/transformer stations, a delivery station and ancillary works. 

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However, the decision to grant permission for both facilities was referred to An Bord Pleanála following the lodging of submissions by parties including under the name of Castlelyons Development.

Issues raised in the submissions included the suitability of both sites, the potential risk of contamination to the local water supply, flooding, noise levels, the potential fire risk from the solar panels, access to the site, and the destruction of archaeological artefacts under the surface of the proposed site. 

The submissions by Castlelyons Development further pointed out there was no national or regional strategy for solar farms and that, given the proliferation of similar facilities in the area, the developments should be put on hold until such a strategy is published. 

However, the appeals board has  elected to uphold Cork County Council's decisions, in both cases ruling that both solar farms would "be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area". 

In the case of the Kill Saint Anne farm officials said that subject to compliance with 11 conditions the facility would not "seriously injure" the visual and residential amenities of the area or depreciate the value of local property, endanger public health or the environment, would not contribute to or exacerbate flooding and would pose no risk to traffic safety locally. 

The reasoning for granting permission to the Ballivarrig farm, subject to 13 conditions, was broadly in line with those above, with the board also ruling that it was unlikely to have significant effects on the environment of ecology of the area. 

In both instances the permissions will last for 25-years, after which all structures will be removed unless permission is granted for their retention. Full details of the conditions stipulated by An Bord Pleanála on both farms can be viewed at www.pleanala.ie. 

The permissions mean that Amarenco Solar have now been granted permission for a total of nine solar farms at locations across Cork County. It is understood that each farm will cost in the region of €7 million to construct, representing a total investment of €63 million by the company, with each creating up to 40 jobs during the construction phase. 

When fully operational the network of Cork solar farms will generate a total of 55 mega watts of clean, renewable energy - enough to power almost 10,000 homes -  which will be fed back into the national grid.  The Cork network of solar farms is not the only one planned by Amarenco, who aim to have similar facilities operational in Kerry, Waterford, Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny by 2019.


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