Fine Gael Cork based Senator, Tim Lombard, has called for the introduction of guidelines to assist Local Authorities with planning applications for solar farms.
“I have raised the issue of guidelines for solar farms in the Seanad on a number of occasions now and I firmly believe that legislation is urgently needed in this area.
“Currently there are no guidelines in place to advice Local Authorities on the issue of solar farms, for which they are receiving vast numbers of applications.
“A huge number of solar farms have received planning permission over the past 12 months.
“I was disappointed to learn that a solar farm application in Kinsale has been approved by Bord Pleanála against the advice of their inspector and in the face of great local opposition. We can’t have a situation where inspectors are saying one thing and An Bord Pleanála is doing another. Guidelines for these solar farms are badly needed now.
“When the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, addresses the issue of renewable energy feed-in tariffs in the next few months, he will have to look at the number of solar farms.
“In particular I am asking him to consider introducing guidelines to assist local Councils with managing solar farm applications in an informed and consistent way as to ensure that any solar farm developments are beneficial for all affected. In addition to raising this matter in the Seanad, I am writing to the Minister urging him to work on introducing guidelines as soon as possible.”