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Co Meath data centre delayed by legal complaint

Written by Fri 27 Aug 2021

EngineNode Ltd.’s plan to build a data centre in County Meath has been derailed by a complaint brought by local residents. Upon review of the compliant, the court said that the initial approval must be delayed and will be subject to judicial review.

The complaint, lodged by local residents Mannix and Amy Coyne, challenged the planning permission granted in July, stating that the decision to allow the construction of a data centre was flawed and invalid.

The EngineNode Ltd. data centre allows for four two-story data centres to be constructed, plus offices, access roads and a car park. The new data centre is expected to utilize 180 MW power per year, and contribute 1% to Ireland’s total carbon emissions.

The Coynes allege that the approval granted by the planning commission did not take significant changes to the proposal into account. Initially, the proposal included an on-site power facility, which would have mitigated the total carbon emissions and were used to calculate the 1% estimate.

The Coynes believe that when the power facility was eliminated from the proposal, the approval board failed to recalculate the carbon emissions estimate. This failure to account for the changes to the proposal could potentially threaten the environment, amenities, and the horse farm that the family operates from their home.

There is also a concern that the board failed to accurately assess the impact that the data centre would have on the local power grid. Initially, power would have been generated on site but when the power generation facility was eliminated, that burden shifted to the local power grid.

Read more: Power supply issues cause uncertain future for Irish data centres

Moreover, the complaint alleges that the approved proposal failed to take into account the impact that the new roads, parking lots and roundabouts would have on the local environment and community.

The complaint states that the approval did not comply with local planning regulations, the 2000 Planning and Development Act, and the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessments; along with the 2015 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act.

The court determined that the challenge had merit, and that all work on the project be suspended until the matter can be put to judicial review when the court reconvenes in October.

Written by Fri 27 Aug 2021

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Carbon Emissions data centre Ireland power consumption
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