Planning permission for 50-acre solar farm in Co Meath refused

Planners say project would unacceptably impact on area’s archaeological heritage

An Bord Pleanála has refused planning permission for a 50-acre solar farm on a site in Kilbrew, Co Meath. File photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

An Bord Pleanála has refused planning permission for a 50-acre solar farm on a site in Kilbrew, Co Meath. File photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

 

An Bord Pleanála has overturned a decision by Meath County Council and refused planning permission for a 50-acre solar farm on a site in Kilbrew, Co Meath.

It said the 12.5mw project, proposed by the Dublin- based Power Capital renewable energy group, would have “an unacceptable impact on the archaeological and cultural heritage” of a nearby monument.

The board also said its presence would result in “an unacceptable visual impact in the landscape” and that it would “seriously injure the amenities of the area”.

The group had applied for 10 year permission for the construction of the farm and associated site works in the townland of Irishtown, not far from Tayto Park.

The rejection of the proposal follows an appeal by the local Kilbrew community on a decision made by Meath County Council last year to grant permission for the development.

Meath East Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne, who supported locals in appealing the council’s decision, said proper State guidelines around the development of solar and wind farms were urgently needed.

“This country badly needs renewable energy but it also needs a plan as to where to locate it. A lot of ordinary citizens would be more than happy to take solar panels but at the moment there seems to be a big rush with large companies proposing these farms,” he said.

“We need to have some sort of planning guidelines. Most of the people I’m working with are very environmentally conscious but the problem is these farms take up a huge among of land. There just seems to be a carte blanche for these farms, there’s no strategy.”

The State-owned Ireland Strategic Investment Fund announced in January that it would co-invest €140 million in 20 new solar parks to be run by the Power Capital energy firm.