EU Commission confirms daily fines for Derrybrien wind farm ending

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

Daily fines against the Irish State over the Derrybrien Wind Farm will cease with a final payment and the decision of An Bord Pleanála.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has received a response from the EU Commission that it now considers Ireland to be in compliance with all court orders.

This follows on from a decision of An Bord Pleanála in February of 2022 to refuse substitute consent for the wind farm.

In making its decision to refuse this application, An Bord Pleanála said that it was “not satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist that would justify the grant of substitute consent”.

The specific reason for this was the “significant effects on the environment which occurred as a consequence of the 2003 peat slide”.

The 70 turbine wind farm in the northern Slieve Aughty Mountains suffered a severe landslide in 2003 while under construction.

This destroyed vast areas of forest and peat, and polluted waterways, killing large numbers of fish.

In 2019, the wind farm was found to be in breach of environmental regulations by the EU Court of Justice, leading to fines of €15,000 per day that Ireland was in breach of the court order.

The EU Commission has now said that, with An Bord Pleanála’s final decision, Ireland has taken all measures necessary to ensure compliance with the judgment.

A final installment of €1,245,000 covering fines from last November to this month is due to be paid.

The government has said that the details of the future decommissioning and restoration of the wind farm site are a matter for Galway County Council.