O’Dowd grants planning permission for Kells Solar Farm

Date published: 06 October 2022


Infrastructure Minister, John O’Dowd has today announced his decision to grant planning permission for the Kells Solar Farm.
The proposal is for the construction and operation of a solar farm and ancillary development in the locality of Whappstown Road, Kells, Ballymena.

Minister for Infrastructure,  John O’Dowd

Minister O’Dowd said:

“I have made this decision to approve after having given careful consideration to the independent Planning Appeals Commission’s (PAC) report and the recommendation of my planning officials.


“While I am always conscious of the concerns of local residents, green infrastructure does represent a real opportunity for tackling the climate emergency, helping to boost our economy and creating a sustainable infrastructure for future generations.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. This follows the Minister’s careful consideration of the Planning Appeals Commission’s (PAC) report on the Hearing which was held in June and July 2021 and is in line with the Commission’s recommendation to approve the proposal.
  2. Proposal:  Construction and operation of a solar farm. Development comprises photo-voltaic panels on mounting frames; 1 No. substation; 18 No. Inverter stations; 21 No. CCTV cameras (3m high poles); 2.45m high perimeter fence; upgrading of 2 No. existing accesses onto Whappstown Road; internal service tracks; 2 No. temporary construction compounds; and additional landscaping to augment existing.
  3. Location: Lands extending NW and SE of Whappstown Road, Moorefields, Castlegore, Ballymena. Lands to the SE of Whappstown Road, surrounding No. 11 Whappstown Road, and approximately 100m south of No. 19 Whappstown Road, 150m west of No. 20 Speerstown Road and 290m northwest of No. 93 Tildarg Road. Lands located NW of Whappstown Road beginning approximately 120m north of No. 16 Whappstown Road, 20m east of No. 7 Ross Lane and 190m southeast of No. 6 Craigstown Road.
  4. The Department for Infrastructure has examined the above application and supporting documentation to assess its impact on the environment as required by the Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015. A Hearing into the Department’s Notice of Opinion to approve planning permission was held on 23-25 June and 1&2 July 2021. The PAC report with recommendation to grant planning permission was received by the Department on 1 April 2022.
  5. Application number LA03/2015/0234/F is a regionally significant planning application which was submitted to the Department for determination in June 2015.
  6. 1152 letters of objection and one letter of support were received in relation to this application.
  7. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk 
  8. The Executive Information Service operates and out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800 hours and 0800 hours Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays.  The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.   
  9. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure.



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