Solar farm developments in Ireland face an interesting planning challenge going forwards. An Bord Pleanála has recently refused permission for a large scale solar farm (c. 45MW) in Co. Wexford (PL 26.247217) on the basis that there is a lack of guidance at national, regional and local level in relation to the appropriate location, scale and distribution of future proposals for solar power. This has been determined in the context of the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government’s recent commentary that the planning code is sufficiently robust to facilitate the assessment of individual planning permission applications for solar farm developments.

The Inspector recommended refusal for three reasons including that the proposed development would undermine the agricultural sector in the area; that it would militate against the preservation of the landscape and cultural heritage resources of the area; and that the Stage 1 Appropriate Assessment Screening report did not adequately assess the potential for water quality impacts.