Tuesday, 2 December 2008

An Bord Pleanála fails to halt Poolbeg court action

AN BORD Pleanála has lost its High Court bid to prevent local resident groups opposed to the proposed Poolbeg waste incinerator in Dublin pursuing court claims.

The groups claim they are entitled to an independent review of how An Bord Pleanála addressed issues relating to an environmental impact statement (EIS)for the development.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton said the action by the residents would be effectively dead if the court granted the board's application to strike out the claims relating to the EIS issues.

The claims include that the statement prepared by Dublin City Council concerning the incinerator was inadequate and should have been rejected by An Bord Pleanála.

The Combined Residents Against Incineration initiated High Court proceedings earlier this year challenging the manner in which the permission was given for the development. A central issue in their case is that they are entitled to challenge the substantive legality of a Bord Pleanála decision in a review procedure which accords with council directive 85/337/EC.

However, they claim that, in breach of article 10 of the directive, the State has failed to provide such a review procedure. They say the issues which they want reviewed, in accordance with article 10, are whether the environmental impact statement by Dublin City Council was inadequate and ought to have been rejected by An Bord Pleanála. They claim it was flawed and should have been rejected.

An Bord Pleanála brought its preliminary application yesterday to strike out part of the statement of claim relating to the issues which the residents want reviewed. Mr Justice Charleton said he did not believe it would be right to strike out the EIS aspect of the statement of claim as to do so would mean the entire claim would be effectively dead.

He would distribute the full written text of his ruling at a later date to the parties involved.

The relevant paragraph 11 of the statement of claim alleges the EIS prepared by Dublin City Council was inadequate.

It claims An Bord Pleanála ought to have rejected the EIS as it failed to adequately assess the direct and indirect effects of the proposed development on the environment. It also alleges the statement failed to describe the full direct and indirect effect of all emissions associated with the operation of the incinerator.

It is alleged An Bord Pleanála wrongly concluded the development would not be prejudicial to public health and would not adversely affect the integrity of any designated site of ecological importance in the vicinity.

Earlier, Emily Egan, for An Bord Pleanála, argued that the residents group was not entitled to challenge the legality of Bord Pleanála's decision. Garrett Simons SC, for the State, submitted that the residents had failed to issue their judicial review proceedings within the required time limit. However, barrister Colm Mac Eochaidh said an additional nine days allowing for holidays, and other factors, brought the case within the eight weeks time limit.

Irish Times


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