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Galway residents raise noise, energy concerns about Apple's Irish datacenter

Some residents in the area of Apple's planned Irish datacenter have filed objections with the Galway County Council, arguing that the company's Environmental Impact Statement is "inadequate" and doesn't address a range of concerns, a report said on Thursday.

Apple is looking to build a single-story structure measuring 263,770 square feet near the town of Athenry, with smaller logistics, administration, maintenance, and security facilities in surrounding townlands, according to the Irish Times. Apple will also be installing 18 generators and a 7.9-foot tall perimeter fence, and has further promised to plant trees, and build an outdoor classroom for Lisheenkyle National School.

A group of Lisheenkyle residents have complained, however, that Apple has not addressed the potential impact of noise and vibrations caused by generators and increased traffic, which they say could affect both staff and children at the school as well as livestock being raised in the vicinity.

The group's objection was filed with the help of HRA Planning consultants, who added that the datacenter is "remote from existing services and facilities and identified centres of population," and contradicts County Galway's own development plan.

Some separate organizations have reportedly raised their own concerns about the datacenter, such as conservation group An Taisce, which said it's happy Apple intends to rely entirely on renewable energy, but wants the company to incorporate the sourcing of this power from the start of the project, and temper night-time lighting to avoid impacting birds.

The Athenry Revival Group wants Apple to integrate carbon-neutral transportation for workers into its planning application, one suggestion being a footpath and cycling route provided by the Galway County Council, which would parallel the future Western Rail Corridor. The idea of a "greenway" is also supported by some other parties, such as Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins.

Higgins proposed that Apple could be asked to supply some money for the greenway, potentially getting naming rights in exchange.

The datacenter is expected to cost at least €850 million, the Times said, or almost $969.5 million in U.S. currency. Apple is aiming to have it open by 2017, and the Galway chamber of commerce is estimating it could add roughly 300 jobs to the local economy.