Monday 18 February 2008

Environment impact studies probed

Ireland's failure to insist on environmental impact assessments before major development projects are carried out, will be scrutinised by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The European Commission brought an action against Ireland in May 2006, claiming that the government had failed to comply with its obligations under the 1985 Impact Assessment Directive. The Commission complained that Ireland did not require checks to be carried out before major projects begin and allows environmental impact assessments to be carried out after work has already started.

The Commission stated that the system in Ireland - which allows developers to seek retention permission for unauthorised developments - undermined the preventive objectives of the directive.

The European Commission alleged that 'particular deficiencies' in relation to environmental impact assessments for a wind farm at Derrybrien, Co Galway, amounted to 'a manifest breach of the directive'.

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