Appeal lodged against 62 hectare Tuam solar farm

Galway Daily news Green light for 24.5ha Claregalway solar farm development

An appeal has been made to An Bord Pleanála against planning permission for a 62 hectare solar farm south of Tuam.

Galway County Council approved plans by Tuam Energy Park Ltd last month for a solar farm on lands spread over the townlands of Cloontoa, Rinkippeen, Cloonascragh, Barnacurragh and Ballykeaghra.

The development would consist of rows of ground mounted solar panels approximately three to four metres apart, in a fixed, south facing position, and rising no more than 3.2m above the terrain.

Other works in the project would include three substation buildings spread around the site, 20 smaller medium voltage (MV) substations, perimeter fencing, and one communications pole/weather station with satellite dish, which will be approximately 4m in height.

Planning permission had been granted by the county council with 25 conditions attached.

Among those are a number of safety precautions to protect the adjacent railway line during construction, and to ensure that the solar farm’s operation doesn’t affect railway traffic.

The council also stipulated that planning permission for the solar farm does not constitute “consent or agreement to a connection to the national grid” or permission for routing power to such a connection.

A third party appeal has been lodged against the council’s decision, raising concerns about the potential for flooding during times of heavy rain due to the shallow basin of the River Suileen.

The appeal also asked if Tuam Energy Park and the county council have considered the potential impact the development could have on the Tuam Outer Bypass, which would lie in close proximity to the north end of the sit.

An Bord Pleanála is due to rule on this appeal by September 15 of this year.