Blessington solar farm plans rejected
Plans to build a solar farm in west Wicklow have been rejected by An Bórd Pleanála over fears of a negative impact on bird conservation around the nearby lakes.
The application was previously submitted by Solas Eireann Development Ltd to Wicklow County Council but refused and on April 26, the planning appeals board further refused an appeal to that decision.
The application sought permission to install 73,000 photovoltaic panels on ground-mounted frames on a 30.06 hectare site at Threecastles, Talbotstown Lower, south of the N81.
The lands in question are currently used as grazing lands.
Among the observations made, was one by Birdwatch Ireland which raised concerns about conservation of a bird species known as the Greylag Goose.
According to the inspector's report 'there is potential for significant effects on the conservation status of the Greylag Goose', as the lands that make up the site in question are an important core feeding ground for this type of bird, numbers of which are already confirmed as being in decline.
The report also raised a concern that 'it is not fully possible to assess the potential impact of the proposed development on the environment and visual amenities.
However, in light of the refusal over the conservation issue, the board did not pursue the matter further.
The company brought the appeal on the grounds that it did submit two ecological site reports which included a 'full assessment on the impact of the proposal on the bird species' and noted that construction would occur outside the wintering period.
The applicant also outlined that it planned to restore the land to its original condition.