AN ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner has lost a High Court bid to overturn the granting of planning permission for the New Ross bypass road.
Peter Sweetman had claimed An Bord Pleanála’s decision upholding a grant of permission for the New Ross bypass breached the EU habitats directive, which provides for the conservation of wild fauna and flora via a system of site designation and restrictions on land use. Mr Sweetman made similar claims in a previous unsuccessful High Court challenge to the Galway city outer bypass road. He has appealed the High Court decision in that case to the Supreme Court.
Yesterday, Mr Justice John Hedigan ruled the New Ross bypass was subject to an appropriate assessment in light of the conservation objectives for the site.
There was relevant, and “indeed ample”, evidence before the board upon which it could properly rely to ascertain there would be no likely adverse effect on the site, he said. There was no reasonable scientific doubt about that, he added.
Mr Sweetman, Grosvenor Road, Rathmines, Dublin, sought judicial review of the board’s decision under the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2006. To bring such a judicial review, a challenger must demonstrate “substantial grounds” rather than the “arguable” grounds for other judicial reviews.
Mr Sweetman had argued the board’s decision was irrational because the Minister for the Environment, or other authority, had not set out conservation objectives for the lands through which the road would pass, the judge noted.