Mayo wind farm judicial review is imminent

THE High Court is due to issue a decision on whether or not to grant a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s (APB) ruling in respect of a controversial €320 million wind farm in north Mayo.

The planning appeals board granted permission last June to ESB and Bord na Móna to erect 61 wind turbines on a 5,000-hectare site near Bellacorick, which will have a maximum electricity generating capacity of 172 megawatts when completed.

However, the authority's decision to set the annual community contribution at €1,000 per megawatt was contary to the Mayo County Development Plan, which set the contribution at €10,000 per megawatt. ABP's own inspector had recommended €2,500 per megawatt.

Castlebar-based Dermot McDonnell, who has vast experience in the wind energy industry, lodged the application to the High Court for the board's decision to be overturned.

He explained when the project is fully operational – the applicants have plans for more wind turbines on the site – it will be producing 371 megawatts and the loss to Co. Mayo will be €11,000 per day or €250 billion over the 35-year duration of the permission.

“In the papers I lodged with the High Court, I described the figure which the board set as the annual community contribution as derisory and an insult to the people of the county.

“There is no logic to the decision and no explanation was given for it. I sincerely hope that a judicial review is granted,” he explained.