Review body requests more info before approving Apple's Irish data center

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A planning organization backed by the Irish government — An Bord Pleanála — is reportedly asking Apple to provide more information about a number of issues before it approves the construction of a data center near the small town of Athenry.

A letter sent by an An Bord Pleanála executive to Arup Consulting Engineers, the firm managing the datacenter project, requested information in five specific areas, according to Business Insider. One of these is the choice of location.

"The proposed development is located in an unserviced rural area on lands outside of any settlement and which are not the subject of any specific development objective. It is considered that the applicant has not adequately addressed the issue of site location and the alternatives considered prior to selecting the proposed site," one section of the letter reads.

Apple and Arup have also allegedly provided no specifc data on renewable energy projects, and are being asked to revise an Environmental Impact Statement to address a power substation, all eight possible data halls instead of just the first, and the potential absence of "viable direct sustainable energy sources."

The letter also mentions previously-known concerns about wildlife, asking for the results of earlier ecological surveys and news on surveys to come. Lastly, Apple and Arup expected to submit data on soil, bedrock, and the local water table.

Although local government officials greenlit the data center in September, environmental activists appealed, putting the project on pause. An Bord Pleanála was brought in for an independent review, and was originally expected to make a decision this month but might not do so until May.

Apple and Arup have until March 7 to provide the additional information. Apple may be especially interested in accelerating the process, as the company has no native data centers in Europe, although an upcoming sister complex in Denmark could potentially serve as a stopgap.