An Bord Pleanála to consent to order quashing its approval for €70m Kildare wind farm

Developer North Kildare Wind Farm Group said proposed project had been through a lengthy planning process

An Bord Pleanála has indicated it will consent to an order quashing its permission for a €70 million wind farm in Co Kildare, the High Court has heard.

Local resident Lorraine Quinn and environmental NGO Eco Advocacy CLG brought a judicial review challenge against the board’s approval in September 2020 for the 12-turbine development at Drehid, near Carbury.

The court heard on Monday that the board would no longer be contesting the action.

Barrister John Kenny said there remained a conflict between his client, developer North Kildare Wind Farm Group, and the applicants as to whether the planning application should be remitted to the planning board.

The developer, a notice party in the proceedings, hopes to see its planning application remitted for fresh consideration and wants a short hearing for determination of this issue, Mr Kenny added. He asked the judge to refrain from making an order of certiorari while this question remained.

Counsel for the applicants, Michael O’Donnell, said it was not entirely clear what aspect or stage of the application the developer was seeking to remit.

The planning board has yet to find out what the proposed remittal pathway is, but it is neutral on application for a hearing, its counsel, David Browne, said.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys adjourned the matter until next month.

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In their action against the board, Ms Quinn, of Drehid in Carbury, who lives close to the proposed development, and Eco Advocacy claimed the decision was flawed on grounds including that it does not comply with wind energy guidelines contained in the 2000 Planning and Development Act.

They further alleged the board failed to carry out an appropriate assessment, in accordance with European Union directives, of the proposed development.

There was also an alleged failure to consider the impact the proposed build would have on a nearby solar power project. Concerns were also raised by the applicants about the level and impact of noise from the proposed wind farm.

The Commercial Court had previously approved fast-track management of the case within the High Court’s strategic infrastructure development list.

North Kildare Wind Farm Group claimed the scheme would cost €70 million to build and connect to the national grid, and any delay would adversely impact the project’s commercial viability.

The developer claimed the proposed wind farm went through a lengthy planning process.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter