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Decision on Apple's Irish data center plans expected by end of August

An Bord Pleanála —an independent appeals review body —said it will likely make its decision on Apple's Irish data center by the end of the month, either greenlighting the company's development plans, or potentially causing delays.

Inside an Apple data center.

Inside an Apple data center.

The inspector on the project, Stephen Kay, has submitted his recommendations for the board's final deliberations, according to Ireland'a Galway Bay FM. Kay's report won't be made public until An Bord Pleanála makes a ruling, but should suggest what changes if any Apple will need to make.

Apple initially won permission for the data center in September, but quickly encountered appeals from local residents and organizations, concerned about issues such as environmental impact and traffic congestion.

If Apple's plans are unmodified in any serious way, the facility will span 24,500 square meters (over 263,700 square feet) by the town of Athenry, and cost some €850 million (approximately $944.3 million). It will fill a critical gap in Apple's cloud infrastructure, since the company has yet to launch any European data centers. A Danish center is also in development —both facilities are intended to start operations in 2017.

In announcing the Athenry complex in 2015, Apple made some early promises to make development more appealing, including the construction of a walking trail, an "outdoor education space" for area schools, and the restoration of native trees to Derrydonnell Forest.