By Kieran O’Mahony
A KINSALE community group spearheading a campaign for planning guidelines for large scale solar farms has demanded a Government response to the Council’s call for a moratorium on solar farms.
Jagoes Mills Action Group (JMAG) said that Cork County Council has yet to receive a response from the Department of Local Government after a motion was passed unanimously by councillors on November 28th last.
The motion called for a moratorium on solar energy plants in Cork until detailed planning guidelines for such developments are in place.
‘None of us are against renewable energy,’ Tom Coyne, spokesperson for JMAG told The Southern Star. ‘In fact we are pro renewable energy, but the issue is that there are so many planning applications being put forward to Cork County Council and there are no guidelines in place. Developers are coming in with their own agenda and it needs to be controlled. It’s not just all about meeting energy targets.’
Cork County Council granted planning permission last year to Green Mills Energy for a 32-acre solar farm in Farrangalway outside Kinsale, and several local residents in the area appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála. A decision is due by March 20th.
The recent decision by An Bord Pleanála to uphold Wexford County Council’s refusal of permission for a 200-acre solar farm prompted this latest call by JMAG. As part of that decision, the Bord issued a direction suggesting that granting a solar development on such a scale may be premature, pending the adoption of guidance or strategy for solar power.