152ha Wexford solar farm refused planning permission

The planning application submitted by Highfield Solar Ltd for a 152ha solar farm in Co. Wexford has recently been declined.

It is understood that the proposed solar farm was expected to span across five townlands including: Horetown; Raheenduff; Haresmead; Rospile; and Coolcliff in the postal area of Foulksmills.

The refusal notice stated that the planning application was refused for six reasons.

According to the official document on the decision, seen by AgriLand, the notice of refusal outlined that the planning authority was “not satisfied” that the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or the property in the vicinity.

It was also considered that the proposed development – which would occupy highly-productive agricultural lands – would “undermine the agricultural sector” in the area and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

It was outlined that the proposal would “alter significantly” the agricultural land use in the area and would represent an inappropriate feature in the rural landscape.

Concerns were also raised over a lack of guidance at national, regional and local level in relation to the appropriate location, scale and distribution for proposals of solar arrays of this size and scale.

Further details on the reasons behind the planning permission refusals are listed in the document below.

Image source: Community First Action Group Facebook page

According to its website, Highfield Solar Ltd works exclusively within Ireland and is focused on the development of ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) energy parks.

Its website states that careful site selection is the foundation of its business and it only develops sites that it believes will become fully-operational solar parks.

Its website also outlines that building “good relationships” with landowners is the “most important” part of site selection and it ensures that it keeps landowners “fully involved” throughout the development process.