When Is A Wind Turbine In The Right Place At The Right Height?

Author:Ms Nicola Dunleavy, Patrick Sweetman and Michael O'Connor


The neighbour asked the Court to order that the wind farm be dismantled because the wind farm was not built in accordance with the planning permission in terms of the number, height and location of the turbines. He lived a kilometre away from the wind farm and admitted that the wind farm did not affect the enjoyment of his home, because there were intervening woodlands. However, he claimed that the wind farm impinged on his enjoyment of his surrounding farmland and the rural neighbourhood generally. Also, the fact that the wind farm caused distress to his neighbours concerned him greatly.

In response, the developer argued that the deviations from the planning permission were minor and immaterial. In each case, the developer had sought the approval of Cork County Council to the changes, which the Council gave. Some of the changes were due to the improvements in turbine technology, others due to the ground conditions on the site. The Council permitted the turbines to be moved by up to 20 metres. The developer argued that the turbines were substantially in accordance with the permission granted, and were therefore not an unauthorised development.

The Judge's decision

The Court was of the view that it was a "very significant feature of the present case" that the deviations from the permission had been cleared before the developer took any steps to install turbines. Mr Justice Peart said that: "The...

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