The European Commission is taking Ireland back to the EU Court of Justice over the country’s alleged failure to comply with a previous ruling over the carrying out of an environmental study on the operational 59.5MW Derrybrien wind farm in County Galway.
A statement from the commission claims no “sufficient impact assessment” has been carried out on the project, in breach of the bloc’s rules, and the operation of the site “continues to have an impact locally”.
“The site could still benefit from mitigation and remediation measures, but these can only be identified after an environmental impact assessment has been done. Ireland must, therefore, ensure that this happens,” said the commission.
The Court of Justice ruled in 2008 that construction of the project, which included the removal of large areas of forest and the extraction of peat on the Cashlaundrumlahan mountain, caused an “environmentally devastating landslide” in 2003.
Ireland faces paying a “minimum” fine of €1.7m if the court rules in favour of the commission in the latter’s new case. A “daily penalty” of €12,264 is also proposed for every day up until a new ruling is made if “full compliance is not achieved”.
The project features 70 Vestas V52 turbines and has been operational since 2005. It is owned by Irish utility ESB.