Supreme Court gives An Taisce wide canvas to oppose cheese plant

Bord Pleanála failed to consider environmental effects of producing milk to supply plant, agency argues

An Taisce says An Bord Pleanála failed to have appropriate regard to the environmental effects of the off-site production of 450 million litres of milk required by the cheese plant.

An Taisce says An Bord Pleanála failed to have appropriate regard to the environmental effects of the off-site production of 450 million litres of milk required by the cheese plant.

 

An Taisce will be free to raise all grounds in its appeal over a refusal to quash permission for the Glanbia cheese factory in Co Kilkenny, the Supreme Court has held.

An Taisce / The National Trust for Ireland was granted leave to appeal directly to the Supreme Court a High Court decision to uphold the board’s June 2020 permission for the €140 million Glanbia plant. The substantial hearing is due to take place in the new year.

An Bord Pleanála’s preliminary motion seeking clarity on the scope of the appeal was brought following a recent case management hearing during which there was significant disagreement between the parties over what the court had permitted in its determination. The board had contended that An Taisce’s case strayed far beyond the boundaries of the leave granted, according to the judgment.

In a pre-trial ruling, the five-judge Supreme Court held that An Taisce will be free to raise all grounds, including arguments that An Bord Pleanála failed to have appropriate regard to the environmental effects of the off-site production of 450 million litres of milk required by the plant.

The other parties can argue that appeal grounds relating to the Water Treatment Directive were never properly pleaded or raised in the High Court and, therefore, should not be determined by the higher court, the judges said.

At the heart of its judicial review proceedings is the contention that the planning board did not properly take into account the downstream consequences of the operation of the proposed factory, the judges note. Specifically, it is claimed that there was no adequate environmental impact assessment of the quantity of milk that will supply the factory, which will, according to An Taisce, have consequences for Ireland’s methane and nitrate emissions and, thus, Ireland’s greenhouse obligations.

An Taisce’s case is against An Bord Pleanála, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Ireland, and the Attorney General, while the developer, Kilkenny Cheese Limited, is a notice party in the proceedings.