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'No permission' for viewing platforms

Report addresses issues raised over windfarm located at Raheenleagh

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Viewing points constructed as part of Raheenleagh windfarm were not included in the planning permission, according to a report given to members of Wicklow County Council which addressed a number of complaints.

As well as the viewing platforms, complaints were received by the council about noise impacting surrounding properties; a query regarding the Environment Impact Assessment, and the plan ref. 10/2140, which required the grid connection to receive planning permission prior to commencement of the windfarm development.

The matter of the wind farm was addressed at the most recent meeting of Wicklow County Council.

The planning authority confirmed that it had written to the developer in April regarding their noise monitoring proposal raising various matters, some of which had been raised by the Raheenleagh/Ballinvally Residents Group. A response was awaited.

With regard to the viewing points, the planning authority wrote to the developer and Coillte Teoranta.

The reason the Planning Authority wrote to Coillte Teoranta was because of the Coillte Outdoors sign at the entrance to the windfarm advertising walking trails and viewing points. A response was received from Coillte Teoranta stating that the viewing points were constructed as part of a public amenity project and that they would engage with the local residents to find a solution. They indicated their willingness to remove the viewing points if no solution was forthcoming.

In relation to item 3, the planning authority confirmed that it had examined the planning files relating to plan ref. 12/6049. It was noted that the matter of EIA was assessed in processing that application and that the planning authority had determined that an EIA was not required. Furthermore, there was no mechanism to request the developer to submit an EIS outside of the planning process.

In relation to item 4, the planning authority confirmed that Condition 26 required that planning permission to be granted for the grid connection prior to the commencement of the windfarm development.

Given that permission was not granted for the grid connection and the wind farm development had commenced there was non-compliance with Condition 26. However, the planning authority sought legal advice in relation to this matter. The legal advice received stated that, having regard to the issuing by the planning authority in June 2013 of a S5 Declaration stating that the grid connection was exempted development and the time that had elapsed since the construction of the wind farm had commenced that the planning authority were stopped from taking enforcement action in relation to the non-compliance.


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