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Wildlife concerns delay Apple site in Galway

Planning appeal means final decision is due in June 

Apple’s proposed data center in Galway Ireland faces delays until at least June, after local residents lodged appeals against the planning approval issued in 2015. 

Apple wants to build a 24,000 sq m single story data center hall in Derrydonnell Forest near the town of Athenry, County Galway. The site could ultimately hold eight such halls, cost up $950 million and would be powered by renewable energy (through power purchase agreements or other arrangements), Apple says. The site will also have standby generators, an electricity substation and other plant. 

apple wildlife bird fieldfare thinkstock photos axel ellerhorst

This fieldfare welcomes an apple 

Source: Thinkstock / Axel Ellerhorst

Local welcome

Although approval was granted in September, an appeal is being heard into its environmental impact.   Most residents welcome the proposed data center, but more than 20 appeals have been lodged since the application was approved, according to Business Insider’s Sam Shead.

Objectors say the site could increase noise, pollution, flooding and traffic, or harm local populations of bats and badgers.   


apple data centre 1 building info

Planned eight data centre halls

Source: Building Info

The full eight data center halls would take up the majority of the forest, which is classified as “recovered land”. It has previously been used for growing and harvesting non-native trees; if Apple builds its data center there it would restore native trees to the remainder of the forest, and create a walking trail, and a study space for schools.

The appeals are being heard by An Bord Pleanála (“the planning board”), an independent body which adjudicates planning appeals. 

apple planing galway

Apple Galway - proposed location

Source: Galway Council

Although the board is expected to issue a response by mid-February, a final judgement could take till June, Galway councillor Peter Feeney told Business Insider. 

More details are available on Galway’s planning site: reference 15488, applicant name: Apple Distribution International. 


Readers' comments (1)

  • What a handful of local residence are doing is a disgrace. The region is screaming out for jobs, but these people are not dependent on those jobs and therefore dont care, and are doing what ever they can to keep them out. I have walked the site - its a waste land of part harvested trees or trees falling over. On the subject of badgers - the sudden concern is a sham. Badgers are unwelcome in agricultural areas, as they carry disease and are culled if there are too many in a certain area. What folks should be watching out for are the badger traps being set by local farmers to keep these pasts off their land.
    As for the bats, I will continue to visit and observe, so far very little sign of life in that so called forest (without trees). This is an exciting project, a much needed boost for the region, with huge potential for indirect investment. The hijacking of this project is a travesty and fundamentally I believe the local residents dont know what they are objecting to. Data Centers are extremely quite and with the proposed plans, I fail to understand how it could be an eyesore. The construction traffic is a valid concern, but could be absolutely managed. In addition, the way Apple are approaching this project - applying for each Data Center as they expand, demonstrates transparency and is an incentive to make sure construction works with the local community.

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