Legal challenge taken against €100m Amazon data centre in Dublin

Environmentalist opposes grant of planning permission for Blanchardstown facility

An Bord Pleanála granted permission to Amazon for the construction of a data-storage facility on lands at Cruiserath, Blanchardstown, Co Dublin. The facility will have 12 data server halls. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

An Bord Pleanála granted permission to Amazon for the construction of a data-storage facility on lands at Cruiserath, Blanchardstown, Co Dublin. The facility will have 12 data server halls. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

An environmentalist has mounted a legal challenge to the granting of planning permission for a €100 million data-storage facility in northwest Dublin linked to global ecommerce giant Amazon.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern admitted the challenge on Monday to An Bord Pleanála’s grant of permission to Amazon Data Services Ireland Ltd for the 20,739sq m facility to the list of the big business division of the High Court.

The legal challenge bought by environmentalist Peter Sweetman of Ballina, Co Mayo, will be heard in July. Amazon Data Services Ireland Ltd (Adsil) is a notice party in the case against An Bord Pleanála and the State.

Last January, An Bord Pleanála granted permission for the construction of a data-storage facility on lands at Cruiserath, Blanchardstown, Co Dublin. The facility will have 12 data server halls.

Mr Sweetman has claimed an appropriate assessment of the project allegedly failed to consider adequately, or at all, the impacts of grid connection for the development.

He is seeking various orders including one quashing the grant of planning permission, and a declaration that An Bord Pleanála erred in national and EU law in failing to assess the environmental impacts of the proposal as a whole project.

Data-storage facilities

He has also contended the development as applied for represents the first phase of a master plan that provides for future expansion to include up to seven additional data-storage facilities.

In an affidavit to the court, Martin Rice, director of Adsil, said the data-storage facility building would service the growing demand for cloud computing services provided by Amazon Web services , a company within the Amazon group.

The storage facility would comprise about 20,739sq m and be 13m in height.

Any delay in the construction and delivery of the data storage base would be extremely costly to Amazon and could be detrimental to Amazon’s business more broadly, he said.

To date, Adsil has invested significant time and incurred substantial costs to develop the project and it has spent in excess of €2 million preparing for the development of the data-storage facility building. If built, he said the total cost of the data-storage facility building and its operation would be well in excess of €100 million.

Amazon Web Services is a cloud services offering that provides computer power, database storage, content delivery and other functionality to help organisations. Mr Rice said Amazon Web Services manages and maintains the technology infrastructure in a secure environment, and organisations access these resources via the internet.

He said a key benefit of cloud computing was that organisations no longer needed to invest upfront capital to build and operate their own data centres.