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Meath resident granted leave to appeal decision on wind farm

Oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála into wind farm project concludes after four weeks

Wind turbines: An extensive wind farm project has been planned for Emlagh, near Kells, in Co Meath. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

A Meath engineer has been granted leave to appeal the High Court rejection of his challenge last month to the decision-making process in relation to a huge wind farm planned for the area.

John Callaghan from Kells lost his challenge to the fast-tracking of the plan for Emlagh, near Kells, which has been designated a “strategic infrastructure” project under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006.

In September 2014, An Bord Pleanála designated the proposed development as a strategic infrastructural development (SID), with the effect that the application for permission went directly to the board rather than through Meath County Council.

Planning procedure

On June 11th, Ms Justice Caroline Costello dismissed claims by Mr Callaghan that the planning procedure adopted by An Bord Pleanála was fundamentally unfair and meant there would be no public involvement in the process of carrying out an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

An oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála into the wind farm project concluded in Kells last week after hearing four weeks of submissions from local residents and other interested parties.

Substantial electricity

The proposed €240 million Emlagh development is for 46 wind turbines, each with a height of up to 169m, on three clusters of lands at Farragara, Castletownmoor and Ísealchríocha near Kells.

The developer, North Meath Wind Farm Ltd, whose majority shareholder is Element Power Ireland Ltd, claims if permission is secured the wind farm will generate substantial electricity for up to 30 years.

Mr Callaghan appealed the High Court’s rejection of his challenge on three points of law. Granting leave to appeal her June decision, Ms Justice Costello rejected two of the grounds but was satisfied he had raised a point of exceptional public importance and that it was desirable in the public interest that an appeal should be taken to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.

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