Kerry councillors have voted to remove all townlands, except those around Kilgarvan, from the list of areas to be considered for the further development of windfarms in the County Development Plan.
The move will provide a form of protection for areas, such as Scartaglen, which have been subject to several developments over the last 20 years.
An earlier draft of the 2022-2028 plan proposed to significantly cut the amount of land designated as suitable for windfarms by 90%, a move which was branded as ‘restrictive’ by the Office of the Public Regulator.
At the latest meeting to discuss the plan, councillors decided to scrap almost all of the zones considered to be open for onshore development of windfarms.
The 374 wind turbines in Kerry account for around 20% of the national wind generation total, something which Kerry councillors say is enough.
However, last month the Office of the Planning Regulator outlined dismay at the draft plan’s goals for the further development of renewable energy.
In a unanimous attempt to push back against the OPR, many proposals were made by councillors to halt any further development in the county altogether, or to focus on offshore infrastructure.
However, on advice from the executive that such a move could result in the loss of all control over future planning applications, the members agreed on a joint proposal.
It says that all areas open to consideration for wind energy in the draft Kerry County Development Plan be removed except onshore community-based wind projects and 21 townlands outside Kilgarvan.
Planning applications can still be made for infrastructure in areas other than Kilgarvan but this amendment will make it more difficult for companies to acquire permission from the local authority and An Bord Pleanála.
The vote followed several emotional contributions from councillors representing constituencies in the North Kerry and Sliabh Luachra areas.