Wednesday, April 05, 2017

A PLAN to erect a single wind turbine at Knocklead, which is located between The Swan and Timahoe, has been refused by An Bord Pleanála (ABP).

In November 2015, Andy Dunne sought planning permission from Laois County Council to erect a wind turbine measuring 93.5m (307ft) in height at Knocklead, Timahoe.

The application caused so much concern locally that a public meeting was called in The Swan opposing the plan that very month. The resistance to the plan saw 153 people submit formal objections to Laois County Council planners as well as deputy Seán Fleming submitting a formal comment on the plan in support of the objectors.

In July 2016, Laois County Council refused planning permission to erect the turbine.

Mr Dunne appealed that decision to ABP last August. Last week, ABP upheld Laois County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission.

The appeal was handled by ABP inspector Bríd Maxwell.

In her concluding remarks after making her assessment, she said: “Having considered the file, the planning history and all submissions and having visited the site, I consider that the principle of development of a wind turbine on the appeal site is acceptable in principle in the context of the national and local policy context pertaining.

I consider that, based on analysis of the appeal site location, the landscape has significant capacity to absorb development of this nature and I note the limited nature and scale of the proposal.

However, I am not satisfied that the application provides a sufficient level of detail to enable a thorough assessment of the environmental impacts arising from the proposed development, in particular in relation to the dwelling house circa 280m to the north-northwest of the site and to provide for appropriate mitigation measures accordingly.

The board may seek further information to address these deficiencies. On the basis of the deficiencies in the appeal documentation, I recommend refusal for the following reason:

Having regard to the nature of the receiving environment and proximity to a number of dwellings in the immediate vicinity, including a dwelling located circa 280m to the north-northwest of the proposed turbine location, it is considered that the level of information provided within the application is insufficient to enable a thorough assessment of the environmental impacts arising from the proposed development, with particular reference to noise, shadow flicker and visual intrusion and to provide for appropriate mitigation measures accordingly.

The proposed wind-energy development would, therefore, be contrary to the provisions of the Wind Energy Guidelines for Planning Authorities issued by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in June 2006 and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

Ms Maxwell’s assessment and recommendation to refuse planning permission was approved by the board of ABP.

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By Joe Barrett
Contact Newsdesk: +353 57 86 70216

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