Apple allowed to put up bit barn in the Fields of Athenry

Locals had worried tech titan might bash bats, pollute, nick Trevelyn's corn

Apple has been granted permission to build a 220kVA data centre in County Galway, Ireland by the council, after the company faced objections over energy consumption and environmental disturbances.

Plans to spend €850m (£658m) on the 24,550m2 data centre were submitted in 2015, but were delayed after locals voiced concerns about the negative impacts it could have on Athenry, a scenic medieval town in County Galway.

The plan is to clear forest land currently occupied by non-native tree species just outside the town.

A number of appeals were filed over worries that the data centre would cause traffic, noise and light pollution, flooding, and disturb bats and badgers - both protected species.

Apple isn’t the only tech company investing in Irish data centres. Facebook is building one in County Meath and claims it will be powered completely by renewables. In Apple’s case, however, that’s not feasible, and there are concerns that the data centre could hinder Ireland’s target of 16 per cent renewable energy in final consumption by 2020.

But, after a review by Ireland’s National Planning Board, An Bord Pleanála, Apple has now been given the green light to build its second data centre in Europe.

A local councillor, Peter Feeney, was in favour of the project, citing the number of jobs it would create. It is estimated the data centre will generate 300 jobs, including 150 after it is built.

The Irish facility will work alongside the data centre in Viborg, Denmark to power Apple’s services – including iMessage and iTunes. ®

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