Glanbia cheese plant to proceed after leave to appeal rejected

Green light now given by Kilkenny County Council, Bord Pleanála, and the High Court

After Mr Justice Richard Humphreys rejected it in April, An Taisce wanted to appeal.

After Mr Justice Richard Humphreys rejected it in April, An Taisce wanted to appeal.

 

The construction of a Glanbia cheese plant in Co Kilkenny is to proceed after an application by An Taisce to seek leave to apply to the Court of Appeal was turned down on Friday morning.

The project has now been given the green light by Kilkenny County Council, An Bord Pleanála, and the High Court.

The National Trust for Ireland, An Taisce, had brought the High Court challenge over the Glanbia continental cheese manufacturing plant at Bellview Science and Technology Park. It is to be developed under a joint venture agreement with Glanbia’s Dutch partner Royal-A-Ware.

After Mr Justice Richard Humphreys rejected it in April, An Taisce wanted to appeal but, under the system governing these cases, permission must first be obtained from the judge who heard the case who then can grant a certificate for leave to appeal.

This is only if the judge is satisfied that the grounds of appeal identify points of law of exceptional public importance arising from the court’s judgment dismissing An Taisce’s case against An Bord Pleanála and the State.

Dismissing the case on Friday, Mr Justice Humphreys said: “The reason the applicant isn’t succeeding here is not because this procedure could be questioned but because the application hasn’t met the existing tests for the procedure.”

Following the judgment, Irish Farmers’ Association president Tim Cullinan said the plant should proceed “without delay”.

“The decision not to allow a further hearing of An Taisce’s objection to the Glanbia cheese plant is the fourth time the project has been upheld,” he said.

“An Taisce has a prescribed role in the planning system, but they also have a duty to act responsibly. On each occasion, the process has found everything is in order. Objecting for the sake of it is an abuse of the system.”

He added that the Glanbia project was designed as a response to the challenge from Brexit and the need for the sector to diversify its products and seek new markets.

“As the most exposed sector in the country, it’s reckless of any organisation to obstruct a valid initiative that is designed to safeguard the livelihoods of farm families and the rural economy in the south east,” he said.

The proceedings were against An Bord Pleanála which granted permission for the project in June last year. The developer, Kilkenny Cheese Ltd, was a notice party.

An Taisce claimed the environmental effects of the milk inputs for the cheese plant were not properly taken into account for the purposes of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and habitats directives.

Meeting the State’s climate targets requires reducing the national herd of cows, not increasing it, and the dairy industry overall is unsustainable due to the adverse environmental impacts created by it, it claimed.

The board and Kilkenny Cheese disputed the claims.

Mr Justice Humphreys said in his April judgment An Taisce’s real grievance is with government policy and the issues raised were not a basis for challenging this permission under the planning code.

He said the Government’s objective seemed to be to meet existing Paris Agreement targets on emissions at the lowest possible cost.

Reasonable people could disagree about these objectives, but the fact there might be a medley of views does not in itself suggest the official policy is incorrect, he said.