A local group has lodged an application in the High Court to challenge a wind farm planned for Gougane Barra.
Coiste Forbartha Béal Átha‘n Ghaorthaidh CLG lodged papers in Dublin on March 21st for leave to bring a challenge against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission for the €30m wind farm in what is one of Cork's most scenic areas. The hearing is expected to take place on April 27th.
An Bord Pleanála gave the green light to a controversial €30m wind farm project in February after it had been refused planning permission by Cork County Council because of the negative impact on scenic landscape. The ruling also runs contrary to the recommendation of An Bord Pleanála’s own senior planning inspector, who said: “This is a development that would have significant adverse environmental and visual impacts and is not sustainable at this highly sensitive location.'
The decision to go to the High Court comes on foot of massive opposition to the decision by An Bord Pleanála to overturn Cork County Council’s refusal of the proposal.
In less than a month the group has raised €30,000 to fight the case, but if granted permission to take the judicial review will have to raise up to another €65,000.
Campaign spokesman, Neil Lucey of the Gougane Barra Hotel, said:
'We are heartened by the local, national and international support that has poured in for the campaign over the last few weeks and thank everyone for helping us raise almost a third of our total funds for this fight. We submitted our application to the High Court, on Monday March 21st, and the hearing of the application will take place on April 27th.
'We invite everyone touched by the magic of Gougane Barra to join us in this fight to preserve it for future generations by making a contribution to the cause, or by spreading the word of our campaign.There is a variety of ways to contribute to our campaign which may be accessed through www.ballingeary.com.'
The planned development would involve the construction of the biggest wind turbines ever proposed for County Cork (178.5m), which would be visible on the Gougane Barra skyline. Supporting infrastructure would include a 38kV electricity substation, battery banks, quarries, deforestation, access roads, site drainage and widening of an access junction on the Shehy Mountains overlooking Gougane Barra and the Pass of Keimaneigh.
In its refusal, Cork County Council said that the development would materially contravene the objectives of the Cork County Development Plan and 'would be excessively domineering from very many vantage points over a wide area.
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