New solar farm won't affect world famous Kildare Fen or horse racing industry - says planning board

An Bord Pleanála give go ahead despite horse racing industry concerns

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

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niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

New solar farm won't affect world famous Kildare Fen or horse racing industry - says planning board

File photo: Pollardstown Fen

An Bord Pleanála has given the go ahead for the controversial Pollardstown solar farm despite concerns about the possible impact on the nearby fen and horse racing establishments.

Eight groups and locals had appealed Power Capital Renewable Energy Limited's plans for a 5MWp farm, with a maximum export capacity of 4MW comprising 18,000 panels on ground mounted frames on a six hectare site near the Curragh.

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Those who objected included the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association and the Pollardstown Residents Association. The trainers said the farm would “compromise and jeopardise the success of Ireland's racing and breeding status on the world stage.”

Others were concerned it would impact on the nearby Pollardstown Fen, local livestock and drainage.

An Bord Pleanala said it “would not seriously injure the visual or residential amenities of the area, would not impact negatively on the agriculture/equine sector in the area, would not be likely to have significant effects on the environment, or the ecology of the area and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience.”

It granted permission with 14 conditions attached.

The Board said it was satisfied that the proposed development would not be likely to have a significant effect on Pollardstown Fen Special Area of Conservation.

It stipulated a pre-construction survey should be carried out to establish the location of any badger setts within the solar array fields. It said the deer fencing shall be set back a minimum of 10m from any identified badger setts located within hedgerows.