Fianna Fáil Senator in Meath Thomas Byrne has confirmed that, after calling for the planning process for the so-called Emlagh wind farm in north Meath to be suspended while the project is subject to legal proceedings, An Bord Pleanala has written to him saying it will refuse to do so.

The controversial wind farm was previously designated a ‘Strategic Infrastructure Development’ (SID) by An Bord Pleanála. That decision is now being challenged in the High Court by a local resident.

“The proposed development is subject to High Court legal proceedings, with the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant the project SID status being challenged. The designation of SID status means that the project does not have to satisfy many of the requirements that are required of ordinary planning applications.

“In light of this I wrote to An Bord Pleanála to ask them to suspend the planning process until after the High Court has issued its judgement. However I was dismayed to receive correspondence by An Bord Pleanála today to say that they are pushing ahead with the planning process despite an air of uncertainty hanging over the entire project.

“The local community are concerned that the developers are looking to get the project approved as quickly as possible so that construction can get underway. If construction does get underway, and the High Court subsequently issues a judgement against the decision to grant the project SID status, then it will be too late for the concerns of the local community to be acted upon.

“This refusal by An Bord Pleanála to reconsider their decision and to suspend the planning process until a judgement has been given by the High Court is extraordinary in my view.”