Planning Cases

FIE's request for the Planning Appeals Board [ABP] to require an Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] for the theatre, riverside walk, amenity area, refurbishment of Arts Centre car park and bridge over the Moy Special Area of Conservation was denied by the Board. FIE is advised that the Board erred in law in accepting the Inspector's conclusion that although the proposed developments were likely to have effects on water quality in the vicinity of the site which would be significance in the context of their location in the River Moy aSAC, they would not require an EIS. The 1997 Irish regulations make it clear in Section 31 that where an activity is 'likely to have a significant effect' on a site as the Inspector concluded, there must be an appropriate assessment and this assessment must be in the form of an EIA which includes a mandatory EIS. The Board Direction made their decision 'in accordance with the Inspector's recommendation.' FIE publishes today [4 September 2007] the legal letter establishing the grounds for a Judicial review .
FIE's request for the Planning Appeals Board [ABP] to require an Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] for the theatre, riverside walk, amenity area, refurbishment of Arts Centre car park and bridge over the Moy Special Area of Conservation was denied by the Board. FIE is advised that the Board erred in law in accepting the Inspector's conclusion that although the proposed developments were likely to have effects on water quality in the vicinity of the site which would be significance in the context of their location in the River Moy aSAC, they would not require an EIS. The 1997 Irish regulations make it clear in Section 31 that where an activity is 'likely to have a significant effect' on a site as the Inspector concluded, there must be an appropriate assessment and this assessment must be in the form of an EIA which includes a mandatory EIS. The Board Direction made their decision 'in accordance with the Inspector's recommendation.' FIE is seeking legal advice.
Friends of the Irish Environment have welcomed the decision of Wicklow County Council to refuse permission to Meteor Mobile Communications for a 24m mobile communications mast in Glencree, an area designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Council agreed that the proposed mast would 'appear visually obtrusive thereby seriously militating against the preservation of the rural and scenic character of the landscape.'

FIE stated that the refusal represented a growing 'sense of proportion in ballancing natural amenities against development interests that has been reflected in recent mobile mast refusal by the Planning Appeals Board in Kerry and Kilkenny.

Friends of the Irish Environment have welcomed the decision of Wicklow County Council to refuse permission to Meteor Mobile Communications for a 24m mobile communications mast in Glencree, an area designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Council agreed that the proposed mast would 'appear visually obtrusive thereby seriously militating against the preservation of the rural and scenic character of the landscape.'

FIE stated that the refusal represented a growing 'sense of proportion in ballancing natural amenities against development interests that has been reflected in recent mobile mast refusal by the Planning Appeals Board in Kerry and Kilkenny.
The Secretary,
The Planning Authority,
Wicklow County Council
19 June, 2007


Re: Planning Application 07/1060
Date: 17 May, 2007
Development: 24m mobile communications mast
Location: Oldboleys, Glencree, Co. Wicklow
Applicant: Meteor Communications


Dear Sirs;

Friends of the Irish Environment Ltd. is a network of independent environmentalists who assists local groups and individuals to understand environmental issues and seek proper implementation of environmental and planning law which supports sustainable communities.

We write to you because we are concerned that the proposed communication mast would be an intrusive and dominate feature in an area designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Wicklow County Development Plan.
Chapter 10 Section 3, of this Plan, 'Vision', states that "The council will seek to conserve, protect and enhance Wicklow's built and natural heritage and landscape where possible"

The protection in this instance of the landscape will require full attention to the Department of Environment Guidelines for Telecommunications and a visual impact assessment that respects the unique values of the Glencree area to achieve the necessary balance between communications necessity and national heritage. As noted by the Planning Appeals Board's Inspector in a recent case in County Kerry:

"The Guidelines on Telecommunications Antennae and Support Structures DOE 1996 require a number of factors to be weighed up in considering applications for telecommunications masts; Section 4.3 seeks to balance the visual impact of locating masts on hill tops and meeting service requirements. In this instance the quality and uniqueness of the landscape, based on its open natural and timeless appearance, its prime amenity and conservation designations and it significance to the tourism industry not only in Kerry but to all Ireland outweighs the necessity for better mobile phone coverage which, with current technologies, require the erection of an unsightly mast in a very prominent location thereby destroying the very qualities of the landscape that make it a national treasure." [An Bord Pleanala, 220466, 17 May, 2007]

In giving the refusal on appeal for a 27-metre telecommunications mast in a Coillte forest on Looscaunagh Hill in the Black Valley, County Kerry, the Inspector recommended (and the Board agreed by 6-1) that:

"In this instance the quality and uniqueness of the landscape, based on its open natural and timeless appearance, its prime amenity and conservation designations and it significance to the tourism industry, not only in Kerry but to all Ireland, outweighs the necessity for better mobile phone coverage."

We would respectfully suggest that this decision forms an appropriate precedent for the subject application.


Yours, etc.


Tony Lowes

Enc: Cheque for €20 participation charge.
FIE has lodged an objection to 24m mobile communications mast in an area designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which intrudes on the unspoiled quality of the Wicklow National Park.

We quote a recent decision against a permission for just such a mast by the Appeals Board in County Kerry:

"In this instance the quality and uniqueness of the landscape, based on its open natural and timeless appearance, its prime amenity and conservation designations and it significance to the tourism industry not only in Kerry but to all Ireland outweighs the necessity for better mobile phone coverage which, with current technologies, require the erection of an unsightly mast in a very prominent location thereby destroying the very qualities of the landscape that make it a national treasure."

Read our Objection.
FIE has lodged an objection to 24m mobile communications mast in an area designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which intrudes on the unspoiled quality of the Wicklow National Park.

We quote a recent decision against a permission for just such a mast by the Appeals Board in County Kerry:

"In this instance the quality and uniqueness of the landscape, based on its open natural and timeless appearance, its prime amenity and conservation designations and it significance to the tourism industry not only in Kerry but to all Ireland outweighs the necessity for better mobile phone coverage which, with current technologies, require the erection of an unsightly mast in a very prominent location thereby destroying the very qualities of the landscape that make it a national treasure."

Read our Objection.
FIE is supporting residents of Union Hall, one of the most picturesque villages along the West Cork coastline, in their opposition to 51 dwellings on a single site (including 16 two-storey houses and 27 terraced houses).

In so many coastal villages the rush of development has resulted in out of scale multiple developments that are visually intrusive and can not be supported by the infrastructure. The roads in Union Hall are tiny, and so is the village septic tank, to which this new development proposes to send its raw sewerage. Nor does the village have any spare water, an increasing problem throughout Ireland.

In the words of the many advertisements for the many properties which have been recently built 'Union Hall is an unspoilt and a largely undiscovered location, a haven of peace and tranquillity above a picturesque harbour'.

Not if this development and the others in the pipeline are allowed to proceed…

Read Our Objection
FIE is supporting residents of Union Hall, one of the most picturesque villages along the West Cork coastline, in their opposition to 51 dwellings on a single site (including 16 two-storey houses and 27 terraced houses).

In so many coastal villages the rush of development has resulted in out of scale multiple developments that are visually intrusive and can not be supported by the infrastructure. The roads in Union Hall are tiny, and so is the village septic tank, to which this new development proposes to send its raw sewerage. Nor does the village have any spare water, an increasing problem throughout Ireland.

In the words of the many advertisements for the many properties which have been recently built 'Union Hall is an unspoilt and a largely undiscovered location, a haven of peace and tranquillity above a picturesque harbour'.

Not if this development and the others in the pipeline are allowed to proceed…

Read Our Objection