In­crease so­lar con­tri­bu­tions charge mo­tion de­feated

Wexford People - - NEWS -

CON­CERN was ex­pressed that too many so­lar farms are be­ing granted plan­ning per­mis­sion.

Cllr Michael Whe­lan asked how much in coun­cil con­tri­bu­tions so­lar farms bring. ‘What kind of megawatts are we deal­ing with?’ he asked.

Di­rec­tor of Ser­vices for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Tony Larkin said: ‘We have main­tained the over­all charg­ing ap­proach in line with the old scheme. There are no new rates ex­cept where there were dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories where the same rates were ap­plied. The charge re­lates to the im­pact on in­fras­truc­ture. I would coun­sel against us­ing the charg­ing regime to achieve re­fusals. You can’t just have puni­tive levies to give the ef­fect that noone can ap­ply.’

Cllr Whe­lan pro­posed for the coun­cil to in­crease the amount payable.

‘These com­pa­nies are com­ing in with lit­tle con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity and get their plan­ning per­mis­sion.’

Cllr Mal­colm Byrne said: ‘I don’t think we should look at pe­nal­is­ing so­lar en­ergy and it’s pro­duc­tion so I would op­pose it.’

In­sist­ing that he wasn’t against so­lar en­ergy, Cllr Whe­lan said: ‘The fact that so­lar farms take up to eight or nine hectares of glass. It’s not nice look­ing out at eight hectares of glass. I don’t think there is a ne­ces­sity for that. These com­pa­nies are com­ing in and tak­ing over ar­eas. There are other ways of get­ting so­lar en­ergy like when we are build­ing car parks and build­ings.’

Cllr Whe­lan said the coun­cil’s plan­ning pol­icy on so­lar farms is the same as its wind tur­bine en­ergy pol­icy.

‘There is no na­tional pol­icy. That is why it is fall­ing down. We have to stop these guys com­ing in and fish­ing and tak­ing over the coun­try­side.’

Cllr Larry O’Brien said the New Ross district is scourged with ap­pli­ca­tions for so­lar farms. ‘A lot of ap­pli­ca­tions have been ap­pealed and the granted but no ap­pli­ca­tions have gone ahead. The prob­lem is the land­lord ends up tied and he caan’t do any­thing with the land. A lot of peo­ple have got­ten caught and have signed.’

The Di­rec­tor of Ser­vices for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment said he would like the charges to re­main the same. ‘It would be use­ful to have the same charges for so­lar farms and wind tur­bines.’

Cllr Jim Moore said the mat­ter has been de­bated at spe­cial pol­icy com­mit­tee level. He asked for de­tail on how many sub­mis­sions have been made to the lo­cal au­thor­ity about so­lar farms.

The mo­tion was de­feated.

Cllr Michael Whe­lan.

Tony Larkin.

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