Risk to eagles cited among reasons for Kerry wind farm refusal

An Board Pleanála declines to back appeal against Kerry County Council decision

A perceived risk to the recently introduced white-tailed sea eagle is one of the main reasons cited by An Bord Pleanála for turning down a proposed nine-turbine wind farm in the Kerry-Cork border area near Kilgarvan.

Kerry County Council had refused the 10-year permission sought for the renewable energy development on three principal grounds, including the possible threat of collision to the eagle, along with visual impact and the need for new roads.

Objections had centred on shadow-flicker, noise and risk to the upland peat base, as well as impact on the sea eagle and the rare red grouse.

The developers, SWS Energy Ltd, representing 11 local landowners covering several townlands in the Mangerton Ridge northeast of Kilgarvan, appealed the local authority’s decision to Bord Pleanála. Among the landowners are Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae and his nephew, Kerry county councillor Johnny Healy-Rae.


Eagle death

Three years ago a sea eagle died after colliding with a blade at a wind farm at Sillerthane, near Kilgarvan.

It was introduced into the Killarney National Park in 2008 as part of a five-year programme that saw 100 birds brought to Ireland from Norway.

Concerns that the introduced birds would conflict with wind farm development – part of the Government’s national strategy to reach renewable energy targets – were raised after the bird’s death.

In upholding the council’s refusal, the board said: “Given the relatively recent re-introduction of the white-tailed sea eagle to Ireland, the board is not satisfied that the proposed development would not negatively impact on this formerly native species.”

Impact on the scenery of the area was cited as the second major reason for the board’s refusal.