Application for permission for the proposed Emlagh Wind Farm in Co Meath has been refused by An Bord Pleanála.

Planning permission was refused to North Meath Wind Farm Ltd for the construction of three wind farm clusters comprising a combined total of up to 46 wind turbines, with a maximum tip height of up to 169 metres and associated turbine foundations, hard-standing areas and drainage.

The proposed development was met with huge opposition locally, causing tensions among neighbours. In March 2015, the Irish Farmers Journal reported that a consultation process on the controversial development had received over 300 submissions, with the majority opposing the development.

Contrary to proper planning

In its decision, An Bord Pleanála said that a wind farm of the scale, extent and height proposed would “visually dominate this populated rural area, would seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity, would interfere with the character of the landscape and would not be in accordance with the overall development objectives of the Meath County Development Plan 2013-2019”.

Furthermore, it said that the proposed development would not align with the Wind Energy Development Guidelines as this guidance document did not envisage the construction of such extensive large-scale turbines in an area primarily characterised as a hilly and flat farmland landscape and in such proximity to high concentrations of dwellings.

“The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” An Bord Pleanála said.

North Meath Wind Farm Ltd applied for a 10-year permission and a 30-year operational life from the date of commissioning of the entire wind farm.

The decision was against the inspector’s recommendation at an oral hearing in June 2015 to grant permission.

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