An Bord Pleanála rejects council's stance on wind farm applications

Decision to refuse application due to High Court challenge overturned

An Bord Pleanala

An Bord Pleanála rejected the council’s assertion that it could not make a decision due to a lacuna in its wind energy policy following a High Court challenge

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for three wind turbines in south Donegal that were previously turned down by Donegal County Council.
The company behind the application, Huntstown Windfarm Limited, appealed the decision by the council to refuse planning permission for three turbines with tip heights of 110 metres at Altcor and Meenagranoge near Inver and Frosses on a site in the vicinity of Killin Hill.
An Bord Pleanála rejected the council’s assertion that it could not make a decision due to a lacuna in its wind energy policy following a High Court challenge to the county’s development plan in 2018.
The council argued it was not in a position to adequately assess wind energy and it would be premature to grant planning before the publication of the new wind energy guidelines by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
No objections to the wind farm were lodged and the council’s only reason for not granting permission was the lacuna in its wind energy policy.
Following a High Court order in November 2018, certain provisions of the County Donegal Development Plan were removed relating to wind energy and the council argued this has resulted in significant parts of the wind energy policy being removed from the plan.
In recommending a grant of planning, An Bord Pleanála’s inspector said that despite the High Court order “there is a comprehensive range of guidance and policy objectives on a national, regional and local level in relation to wind energy developments”.
“While certain aspects of the development plan in terms of wind energy policy have been deleted and removed, this does not imply that there is a complete vacuum or lacuna in policy which precludes the Board from determining the application before it,” he said.

The board granted planning permission with 18 conditions.

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