MEMBERS of the Barna Wind Action Group have spoken of their relief following their judicial review win this week, which quashed two planning permissions granted by An Bord Pleanála (ABP) for a wind farm at Barnadivane near Terelton.
Group spokesperson Stephanie Larkin said they are ‘happy and relieved’ to have won their judicial review after a long fight, started in 2014.
‘The cost of going to the High Court twice to fight both cases is huge, in the region of €100,000, but we fundraised and saved as a community to oppose planning permissions for these,’ said Stephanie.
‘We had to fight two cases in fact – one for the planning permission for the turbine windfarm and one for the electrical substation. We had 260 submissions from people in the area, which shows the huge amount of people against this development.’
The group challenged two planning permissions granted by ABP to Barna Wind Energy (BWE) and Arran Windfarm Ltd for six wind turbines, with a height of 131m and an associated electrical substation, both at Barnadivane.
These two permissions are to be quashed by order of the High Court. ‘An Bord Pleanála has acknowledged that the two permissions were unlawfully granted and must be quashed. They are also reimbursing our costs in bringing the case.’
Stephanie added that their community was strongly against this development and it was a ‘long, arduous and costly task’ for their group and community over five-and-a-half years.
‘This was the second time in that period the board had illegally granted planning permission for these two developments and so it was the second time we have had to resort to the High Court for the law to be applied,’ she pointed out.
In 2016 the High Court quashed the planning permission granted for the electricity substation and the six-wind turbine windfarm.
‘We would like to thank everyone who has supported and enabled us to pursue these cases over the years,’ she added.
Stephanie’s advice for other communities fighting a similar process is to engage in the planning process. ‘If you stick together and get good advice, you never know what will happen. It’s really important to engage with your community.’