East Clare residents pledge to fight solar farm
It is now highly likely that An Bord Pleanála will make the final decision on the ‘largest solar farm in Ireland’ development project in south-east Clare after two residents pledged to appeal any approvals planning granted by Clare County Council.
If Reeve Wave Limited is denied 10 year planning permission to develop a solar panel in Ballyglass, Coolderry, Dromintobin North, Reanbrone and Oakfield townlands, Ardnacrusha, it also has the option of appealing any denial to the Planning Commission. independent appeal.
The proposal, which has been described as ‘Ireland’s largest solar farm’ by the Blackwater Concern Solar Group (BCSG), prompted a series of submissions from 22 residents and well-known conservationist Peter Sweetman of Wild Ireland Defence. CLG and Others.
Signatories include Paula Reidy, Bunratty; Denis and Rose O’Donnell, Blackwater; Stephanie and Alan Higgins, Blackwater; Eunice Randle, Coolderra, Ardnacrusha; Michael and Mary Clery, Blackwater; Keith Larkin, Clonlara Village; Susanne O’Dalaigh, Blackwater; Liam and Rachel Mannix, Oakfield, Clonlara; Greg Larkin and Louise Kiernan, Oakfield, Clonlara; Paschal Duggan, Ballyglass; Brendan and Jane Meade, Blackwater; Jennifer and Richard Fitzgibbon, Elton Court, Meelick; Brian Bolger, Ballyglass, Blackwater; Chloe Kelleher, Blackwater, Gary Keane, Ballyglass, Blackwater.
In addition to claiming the development is contrary to the council’s renewable energy strategy, Greg Larkin and Louise Kieran have pledged to appeal any planning approvals “by any means available to us.”
Shannon Airport and the Department of Local Government and Heritage also disputed the information provided by the developer.
Shannon Airport stated in its submission that the glare and glare assessment provided by the company should be amended to account for the airport’s airfield receivers on the approaches to Runways 24 and 06 as well as well as the air traffic control tower to allow the facility to assess any potential impact on aviation safety.
The Department of Housing and Heritage has advised the planning authority that the developer is required to engage the services of a suitably qualified archaeologist to carry out an updated archaeological impact assessment, which should include a survey program targeted archaeological geophysics and experimental excavations.
Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the planning authority to be updated on this planning application as a representative of the public.
In his brief, Deputy Crowe expressed concern about the lack of public consultation on this development application and regretted that his request to the company for a public meeting with residents was denied.
Reeve Wave Limited has applied for 10 year planning permission to develop a solar panel in Ballyglass, Coolderry, Dromintobin North, Reanbrone and Oakfield townlands, Ardnacrusha.
This development will consist of approximately 265,000m2 of solar panels on ground mounted frames, eight single storey control cabins with associated electrical transformers and hard support areas, two main ring units, underground cabling within the site of the solar generator and in local public road L70382 to connect solar panel field plots, security fencing, CCTV, driveways, upgrading existing and new, upgrading four existing agricultural field entrances on R463, L3046 and L70382 and the creation of a new entrance on L70382, the temporary construction enclosure, landscaping and all ancillary fixtures and associated development works.
The solar park is planned to connect to the national grid via the existing 110Kv substation at Ardnacrusha Power Station, which will be the subject of a separate planning application at An Bord Pleanála.
The company estimates that the farm will directly contribute to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 21,236 tonnes per year or 743,263 tonnes of C02 over its 35-year lifespan.
In a series of similar submissions, residents opposed the “industrialization of the rural countryside” through the installation of this large-scale 120-acre solar panel development surrounded by 7.8 kilometers of fences topped with barbed wire and of 81 CCTV cameras.
The owners claimed that there had been inadequate public consultation and that many residents within the perimeter of the development did not meet with the company representative and many did not receive information leaflets from the developer.
They complained that the visual amenity of the area encompassing the proposed site would be “seriously degraded”, while views would be affected for pedestrians and cyclists on local roads.
They alleged that this development is likely to attract “opportunistic criminals involved in the theft of valuable solar panel development materials based on” growing evidence of this type of crime from operating solar farms in the UK.
Residents said the development would negatively impact wildlife, while faulty and overheated solar panel components posed a fire hazard.
Mr Sweetman pointed out that the planning authority is required to form and record an opinion on the environmental impact of the development, taking into account the EIA report, if provided by the applicant, the views of the public, applying its own expertise to review development for Environmental Impact Assessment.
He provided information on a number of court cases setting the threshold for considering planning applications under the Habitats Directive.
HW Planning has indicated in planning documents that this site was selected following a strategic site assessment process, which was informed by key industry planning criteria, ensuring low impact on the site. surrounding environment.
He pointed out that a perimeter fence with a maximum height of two meters will be erected to provide security and restrict unauthorized development.
“Paladin fences up to 2.6 meters can be erected in certain areas depending on security requirements.
“The proposed solar generator has been designed in accordance with industry best practice standards, incorporating innovative industrial technologies to achieve optimal environmental conditions.
“Solar panels represent a positive form of agricultural diversification in local communities. As a temporary use in the landscape, they are generally inert, with negligible environmental impact.
“The site, with its southern exposure and the absence of constraining factors, makes it ideal for a photovoltaic solar generator.
“The significant levels of local vegetation and natural contours mean that the site is well reviewed and the landscape and visual assessments prepared confirm that the proposal will not cause adverse impacts on the landscape of the area.
“It has been objectively determined that the proposal will have no adverse impact on reflections/glare and a precautionary approach has been applied in the design with generous buffers for existing residences in the local area,” the consultants said.
Responding to questions from Clare Champion recently, company representative James Crowley said he led the community consultation effort regarding the proposed Ballyglass solar panel project, with the initial focus on households near the proposed development and the wider community informed of the proposal after a notice in The Clare Champion on May 6.
“All relevant information relating to the project remains available for public viewing on the project information website, www.ballyglassinfo.com, and I remain available to discuss any concerns anyone may have regarding the proposal.”
Commenting on the fence, he referred to the company’s website and photomontage page, which described it as a typical deer fence, around 2.4 meters in height and designed to allow small mammals to roam. access and exit throughout the site.