Court challenge to planning refusal for Monaghan wind farm connector

A challenge has been brought against An Bord Pleanala’s refusal to grant planning permission for a connector linking a Monaghan wind farm to the national power grid.

The action has been brought by Coolberrin Wind Farm Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Energia Group, which intends to develop an electricity generating wind farm in Carrickroe.

The proposed seven turbine wind farm and the associated connector, the court heard, will cost €26.2m to build and will generate 65 jobs during the 18-month construction period.

It secured planning permission for the connector from Monaghan Co Council but that decision was appealed to the board by An Taisce, the heritage and environmental NGO.

It subsequently refused permission on the basis that insufficient information had been provided by the developer to show that there would be an absence of significant environmental effects if the proposed grid connector were to be constructed.

It said there was insufficient information provided to show what effects would have on populations of the Curlew and Hen Harrier species of birds in the locality.

Coolberrin, which disputes the decision, says that the grid connector is a vital element of the proposed wind farm and that without it, it cannot be built.

The developer has brought High Court proceedings aimed at quashing the board’s decision.

It also seeks declarations including that the board erred in law, took account of irrelevant considerations and applied incorrect legal tests when arriving at its decision.

An Taisce and Monaghan Co Council are notice parties to the proceedings.

This week the case was admitted to the commercial court list, before being transferred to the court’s strategic infrastructure development and commercial planning list.

The case has been adjourned to a date in December.