Irish government proposes fast-track scheme for data centres
Mon 25 Sep 2017
The Irish government is making plans for a fast-track planning permission scheme for data centres, in order to avoid the delays faced by Apple.
The California-based giant has had to navigate several roadblocks in its attempt to complete a proposed €850 million (approx. £747 million) project in the town of Athenry in County Galway, Ireland.
The delays include a judicial review on the basis of environmental concerns flagged by nearby residents and an ensuing shortage of judges. A decision is expected on October 12th. Apple has warned government officials that further delays may spell the end for the project, which was officially granted planning permission in 2015, but has still not gone ahead due to the delays.
Now, in an attempt to combat delays, which also plagued Amazon in its attempts to build a $1.2 billion data centre in Dublin, ministers have set out plans for a planning permission fast-track bill.
The Irish Independent has reported that the Department of Enterprise is in the process of creating legislation which could form a regulation to help push through the construction of data centres.
Speaking at Datacloud Ireland, Minister of State Pat Breen spoke of the government’s desire to keep the country open to investment, saying that they are making efforts to “to ensure Ireland remains an attractive investment option for multinationals seeking to construct data centres here.”
He continued: “In any planning procedure, all sides with input to a proposed project must be respected and listened to before a final decision is made. However, there is no reason why this process cannot happen at a quicker pace while respecting all contributions to a planned project.”
Despite concerns from local residents, many others are in favour of the Apple project because of the expected influx of jobs. A group called ‘Athenry for Apple’ has more than 3000 members on Facebook, and campaigns in favour of Apple’s plans.