Call on council to put solar farm planning applications ‘on-hold’

Calls have been issued to Kerry County Council to put on immediate hold new and current planning applications relating to solar farms.

Speaking at the monthly meeting of Kerry County Council, Listowel Councillor Mike Kennelly said there are no specific government or local authority guidelines in place to advise on the planning of such developments.

Mike Kennelly 1

Cllr Kennelly said cohesive policy and proper planning guidelines in relation to solar farms needed to be put in place.
Fellow Listowel councilor Aoife Thornton said it seemed North Kerry in particular seemed in the same quandary with solar farms as it was with wind farms and that policy guidelines on renewable energy sources were needed urgently.

Aoife Thornton 1

However Kilgarvan councillor Johnny Healy Rae said he was opposed to passing a motion that prevents planners from considering something. He said he knew of companies that wanted to make applications for solar farms on “bad land” and this could be of help to farmers.

Johnny Healy Rae 3

The council clarified while there is no specific Irish planning guidance regarding solar energy, British guidelines are available.

It said if Kerry County Council were to decide to refuse planning permission for a solar farm development – solely on the basis the application was premature pending the issues of guidelines – the council could let itself open to a claim for compensation by the applicant.