The development of two new solar farms in Co Cork has been approved by An Bord Pleanála — against the wishes of locals in one case and reversing a council decision to refuse planning permission in the other.

The planning appeals authority has rejected an appeal by the Ballinrea Community Group against the decision of the council to grant planning for a solar farm on several amalgamated fields over 47 hectares at Ballinrea between Carrigaline and Castletreasure.

The group had claimed the solar farm was planned in an area classified as a high- value landscape and would profoundly alter its rural character.

It claimed the proposed 2.8m-high supports for solar panels and extensive security fencing would create a “semi-industrial landscape”.

The board ruled that the solar farm, subject to a number of planning conditions, would not seriously injure the visual or residential amenities of the area.

In the second case, An Bord Pleanála overturned a decision by Cork County Council to refuse planning permission for a solar farm on a site at Curraduff, about 2km south-west of Newmarket, Co Cork.

It upheld the appeal by Highfield Solar which wants to build a 4MW solar farm on an eight hectare site.

Council planners had rejected the project amid concerns they were not satisfied that it would not cause significant pollution to the River Dalua.

Both solar farms were given a 10-year planning permission to last for a period of 25 years.

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