Council secures order prohibiting further works at Meenbog Wind Farm

April 12, 2024

Donegal County Council has secured a High Court order prohibiting further development at the Controversial Meenbog Wind Farm site that was the subject of a large bog slide in 2020.

Mr Justice David Holland’s order restrains Planree Limited and Mid-Cork Electrical from finishing their “largely complete” 19-turbine project on primarily blanket bog between Barnesmore Gap and Ballybofey, until further court order.

The development entities can apply to vary or discharge the order, which came in enforcement proceedings issued by the local authority, The Irish Times reports.

The judge said the developers came to accept multiple deviations from their 2018/2019 planning permission constitute unauthorised development. He said they have agreed to apply to An Bord Pleanála for substitute consent to regularise the status of the deviations, but argue this could take some years given processing backlogs.

The judge said the parties agreed the wind farm works caused, or at least contributed to, the occurrence of the bog slide but that those works conformed with permission. Both sides also agreed there is no evidence that the slide was caused by the developers’ negligence or the planning deviations, he said.

In seeking to prevent the injunction, the developers submitted that between 90 and 95 per cent of the groundworks are complete, with turbine and rotor installation the primary outstanding works. They contended they should be allowed to build out the remaining authorised elements of the wind farm and to operate it pending the board’s decision on their substitute consent application.

The companies argued the court can only injunct unauthorised parts of the development and cannot injunct the completion and operation of the project.

The council asked the court to restrain all further works until, at least, the outcome of the substitute consent process.

Mr Justice Holland preferred the council’s analysis and held that the unauthorised development at issue consists, because of 25 material deviations, of the entire wind farm and not each or all of the deviations. He also found he has jurisdiction to restrain further works pending, at least, regularisation of the planning status.

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