Connemara wind farm granted planning approval

Galway Daily news Plans in the works for north Galway wind farm

An Bord Pleanála has given its approval for a new wind farm in Connemara in the townlands of Ardderroo, Letter and Finnaun.

Arderroo WindFarm Ltd have been granted planning permission for a wind farm of 25 wind turbines, one permanent meteorological mast, one 110kV substation and associated site works.

This application, made directly to An Bord Pleanála, was for a ten year permission, with an estimated operational life of 30 years.

The 1.49ha site is off the N59, approximately 6.6km south of Oughterard and 6.9km to the west of Moycullen.

In anticipation of this project upgrade works have already been carried out on the local Doon road serving the site and its linkage with the N59.

This new wind farm is within the area of Galway Wind Park, which already has substantial developments in wind energy.

The new wind turbines will have a maximum blade height of 178.5m, while the meteorological mast is expected to stand at 112m.

The development will require the felling of approximately 149.6 hectares of commercial forestry, 65.7ha of which will be replanted elsewhere as required by legislation.

A similar development in this area was previously rejected by An Bord Pleanála in 2015, but this revised application contains four fewer turbines, while enlarging the blade length of the turbines by 22m.

The new layout is also set further back from neighbouring homes.

An Environmental Impact Assessment and Natura Impact Statement were submitted by the developer with this application.

Inland Fisheries Ireland said that the Construction and Environmental Management Plan in the EIA must be implemented in full.

This, IFI said, is “to ensure that salmon and trout spawning and nursery habitat are protected during the construction, operational and decommissioning phase of the project”.

Galway County Council also said that it had no objection to the wind farm provided that the developer comply with the mitigation measures outlined in the EIA.

A total of six public submissions were made to the higher planning authority, with multiple locals expressing concerns about the visual amenity and environmental impact of the project.

An Bord Pleanála ultimately decided to grant permission, noting that the Galway Wind Park area is the most suitable part of the county for wind energy projects.

The planning authority said that the wind farm project could proceed providing that it comply with all measures outlines in the EIA and revised NIS submitted in March.

A Traffic and Transport plan must also be prepared for the construction phase of the project.

The developer must carry out annual bird surveys on the site, and must also carry out an archaeological appraisal of the site before work begins.

In total, An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission with 25 conditions attached.