Mayo community expresses dismay at wind farm ruling

An Bord Pleanála allows €600m project without provision for community gain fund

A Mayo community where a €600 million wind farm is to be located has expressed disappointment at an An Bord Pleanála decision to allow the project without insisting that the developers pay money into a community gain fund. File photograph: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

A Mayo community where a €600 million wind farm is to be located has expressed disappointment at an An Bord Pleanála decision to allow the project without insisting that the developers pay money into a community gain fund. File photograph: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

 

A Mayo community where a €600 million wind farm is to be located has expressed disappointment at an An Bord Pleanála decision to allow the project without insisting that the developers pay money into a community gain fund.

Last week, the planning board granted permission, subject to 20 conditions, for a 112 turbine project put forward by an ESB/Bord Na Móna consortium, Oweninny Power Ltd, on a site close to the old peat fire generating station at Bellacorick.

However, the board ruled that it did not consider the imposition of a condition that the developers make an annual payment of monies into a community gain fund to “be necessary in the present circumstances”.

In doing so, the board went against the recommendation of its own inspector, Dolores McCague, that the developers pay a contribution of €2,500 per installed MW per annum towards the provision or financing of facilities or services “which would constitute a substantial gain to the local community”.

Ms McCague, who asserted that such an endowment was “reasonable”, was overruled by the board on the issue.

Anger

Residents have responded with anger and dismay over the board’s decision.

Locals said they were uncertain what, if any, provisions would be put in place for a community fund and were seeking clarification.