A JUDGE in the High Court in Dublin said last week that it is just and fair to remit a case about planning permission for wind turbines near Macroom back to An Bord Pleanala.
And he awarded costs in the judicial review case to a local anti-windfarm lobby group.
An Bord Pleanala will now reconsider the development of the six turbines which stand up to 131m in height at a location at Barnadivane near Terelton.
The six-year-long planning saga resulted in Barna Wind Action Group in the High Court last week seeking to establish whether the windfarm case should be remitted to An Bord Pleanala.
The Board had agreed to an order quashing its granting of planning permission in April 2019. Permission had been granted to Barna Wind Energy Ltd for the windfarm’s erection.
Permission was also given to Arran Windfarm Ltd for the construction of an associated electricity substation.
Both companies and Cork County Council were notice parties to the judicial review proceedings before the High Court.
Mr Justice McDonald, in his decision, ruled it was ‘fair and just’ to remit the case back to An Bord Pleanala and also recommended that An Bord Pleanala should seek further material to address changes in the environment in the intervening period since the Environment Impact Study was prepared.
The judge said he will leave it up to the Board to decide for itself how it should proceed.
The Barna Wind Action Group had opposed the remitting of the case back to the Board.
It contended that having regard to the changes to the EU Directive in relation to environment impact assessments, it would be inappropriate to remit the matter back.
The developer, however, supported remitting the case back for consideration by An Bord Pleanala.
Planning applications for the windfarm and substation were first lodged in 2014 and permission was granted by Cork County Council the following year.
The matter was then appealed to An Bord Pleanala, who upheld the permission in 2016.
This decision was then the subject of a legal challenge and in November 2016 the Board consented to an order quashing both of its decisions on fair procedures grounds.
The matter was remitted back to An Bord Pleanala and an inspector completed a report on the applications in 2018 and recommended that planning permission be granted.
An Bord Pleanala in April 2019 granted permission for the developments.
Mr Justice McDonald said in addition to an order quashing the two decisions of An Bord Pleanala of April 2019, he would also make an order that the subject matter of both decisions be remitted to the Board to be determined in accordance with law.
The judge also awarded costs of the judicial review proceedings to Barna Wind Action Group.