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High Court challenge against windfarm

Environmentalist Peter Sweetman has launched a High Court challenge against a decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for an extension to an existing windfarm in County Clare.

The challenge is against the board’s decision to grant ESB International permission to build an additional seven turbines at a windfarm development located Boolynagleragh, which Mr Sweetman says is “unreasoned and unreasonable,” and “contrary to law”.

Represented in the action against the board by Oisin Collins Bl and O’Connell & Clarke Solicitors, Mr Sweetman seeks an order quashing the planning authority’s decision of June 13 last to grant planning permission in respect of a windfarm development at Boolynagleragh.

Mr Sweetman also seeks a declaration from the court that he is entitled to pursue the action at a cost that is not prohibitive. Both Clare County Council, which in 2014 turned down the extension application and ESB International are notice parties to the proceedings.

Mr Collins told the court it is his client’s case the council granted permission for the extension without carrying out an appropriate assessment of the application, something it is argued is contrary to both national and European law.

Counsel said the council had truned down the application for an extension after its planning officer had expressed significant environmental concerns in relation to the proposed extension, including concerns about habitats.

ESB International appealed that decision to An Bord Pleanala, which granted permission to the developer.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys. The judge made the matter returnable to a date in October.

By Aodhan O’Faolain

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