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Two solar farms in Co. Wexford, Ireland, refused planning permission

Two solar farms in Co. Wexford, Ireland, refused planning permission
October 18, 2016 Danny Scrivener

Overview

Two solar farms in the Republic of Ireland have been refused planning permission for a number of reasons including the impact upon visual amenity and glint and glare. The two developments are located around Enniscorthy and Grahormick, both in County Wexford.

PV Ireland Solar Farm GlareFigure 1: Solar photovoltaic array

Development details

The solar farm near Enniscorthy is to cover a total of 12.7 hectares with a generating capacity of 5MW.

The solar farm located around Grahormick is split over two distinct areas covering a total of 89 hectares. A generating capacity is not presented within the planning documents.

Reasons for refusal

A number of reasons were quoted with the planning reports that led to the recommendation for refusal. The reasons for each are presented below:

Enniscorthy planning application[1]. The text is taken directly from the planning report:

  1. The proposed development due to its scale, siting and elevated nature of the site fails to have regard to its setting in the landscape and, therefore, would have an adverse affect the visual amenity of the area and be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
  2. The planning Authority is not satisfied that is has been adequately demonstrated, given the absence of any natural screening, the orientation of the arrays and the topography of the land, that the dwellings to the west of the site will not be adversely affected by glint from the proposed development. Therefore, the proposed development would have a detrimental on residential amenity and would be contrary to proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

Grahormick planning application[2]. The text is taken directly from the planning report:

  1. The proposed development due to its overall scale, siting and elevated nature of the site fails to have regard to its setting in the landscape and, therefore, would have an adverse affect on the visual amenity of the area and be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
  2. The planning Authority is not satisfied that is has been adequately demonstrated that residential properties in close proximity to the site will not be adversely affected by glint and glare arising from the proposed development. It is also considered that the proposed developer could endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard because it has not been demonstrated that the glint and glare arising from the proposed development will not have a negative impact on the users of the surrounding Regional Road Network (R739 and R736).
  3. Inadequate information has been submitted in connection with this application in order for the Planning Authority to fully assess the environmental impacts of the proposed development on water quality and wintering waterfowl arsing from grid connection proposals. The proposed development would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

Glint and glare

In this instance the LPA  requested further assessement of glint and glare issues and this was subsequently noted within the planner’s report for both developments. This along with the others reason noted above, led to the refusal of planning permission for both developments.

Project futures

A review of the planning portal for each proposal has shown that an appeal was launched in late August and early September for the each of the proposed solar farms. No further information regarding the status of the appeal is currently present on the planning portal. This article will be updated as and when news of the appeal becomes available.

Image accreditation:Solar Farm” by Michael Mees / CC BY 2.0 / Image cropped and resized from original.

[1] Wexford County Council Planning Report, application number 20160689. Signed by planner 28th July 2016. Last Accessed 13.10.2016.

[2] Wexford County Council Planning Report, application number 20160690. Signed by planner 5th August 2016. Last Accessed 13.10.2016.

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