In a landmark decision on an appeal brought by a resident of Gouldavoher Estate in Limerick’s Doradoyle area to retain 21 PV panels on the roof of her home, An Bord Pleanala has overruled its Inspector and permitted the development.

Current regulations require planning permission for more than 12 sq m or 50% of the roof area of solar panels. Limerick City and County Council’s decision to refuse the application for 21 panels by Elzbieta Joanna Pasinska was appealed to An Bord Pleanala by Ms Pasinska as only seven would be permitted under the Planning Regulations.

Senior Planning Inspector for the Bord, Mary Kennelly, had cited the character of the estate of similar style houses where the ‘scale and extent’ of the panels would affect the townscape. She advised that “the cumulative effect of additional roof slopes being covered by PV panels in the vicinity of the site would be likely to further alter the character of this part of the street/estate and result in visual disharmony and clutter.”

The Board rejected all of the Inspector’s recommendations: “In deciding not to accept the Inspector’s recommendation to refuse permission for retention, the Board considered that the development proposed to be retained would not be visually obtrusive, would not give rise to nuisance from glint and glare, would not seriously injure the visual or residential amenities of the area, and would not establish an undesirable precedent.”

Environmental groups Community Power, Friends of the Irish Environment, Friends of the Earth, and An Taisce, who had all made submissions supporting Ms. Pasinska, welcomed the decision.

Denise Maguire
Irish Construction Industry Magazine