Green light for another solar farm

Tipperary Co Council has granted conditional planning permission for another solar farm development outside Roscrea.

Monaincha Solar Park Ltd sought 10-year planning permission for the construction, and a 40-year operation and subsequent decommission, of a development consisting of a 142.7-hectare solar farm.

The site is located in the Monaincha townland around a kilometre from the M7 motorway, 4.5km southeast of Roscrea and 1.4km from the village of Knock.

The proposed solar farm is to consist of a series of ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, mounted on steel support structures, 34 electrical transformation enclosures, a temporary construction compound, underground cabling, inverters, CCTV poles and cameras, deer-type security fencing around the site boundary, landscaping and biodiversity measures, and all associated ancillary development works for the purpose of generating renewable energy electricity.

The developer submitted a Natura Impact Statement to the council along with several other reports, including a Landscape and Visual Impact Appraisal, Environment Noise Assessment and Glint & Glare report. The developer wrote to local residents informing them of the proposal and stating that it was not possible to organise a public consultation event due to Covid-19 restrictions.

But lack of consultation is one of a wide-ranging series of issues raised by a number of residents in formally objecting to the plan.

A common theme in the submissions is that the rural community is already home to the motorway, a wind farm of 15 large turbines, two telephone masts, and planning permission has recently been granted for two other solar farms with a combined size of 87.2 hectares.

Further concerns were raised over the timing of the application and lack of opportunity for community engagement, along with issues of noise, visual impact, residential amenity, protection of historical structures in the vicinity, impact on flora and fauna, and lifespan of the proposed operation and its decommissioning.

The council granted conditional permission for the development on Monday of this week.

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