Court to rule at later date on challenge aimed at quashing Project Ireland 2040

Friends of the Irish Environment brought case alleging lack of environmental assessments

 

A High Court judge will rule on a later date on a challenge aimed at quashing the €116 billion Project Ireland 2040 plan for the country’s development as invalid over alleged failure to carry out proper environmental assessments.

Friends of the Irish Environment brought the case against the Government, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Ireland and the Attorney General.

The main relief sought is an order quashing the Government’s 2018 decision to adopt the plan on grounds of alleged failure to meet the assessment requirements of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive and the Habitats Directive. Project Ireland has two principal components, the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the National Development Plan (NDP). FIE claims the NPF required assessment under the SEA Directive and the Habitats Directive but that those assessments were not carried out in accordance with the requirements of the two directives.

It disputed the respondents’ view the NDP did not require assessment and argued it required to be assessed under the SEA directive. It has also alleged failure to carry out an adequate assessment of alternative options for the purposes of the SEA directive. The respondents deny the claims.

The case opened on March 10th last and Mr Justice Anthony Barr heard final oral submissions on Friday from Neil Steen SC, with John Kenny BL, instructed by solicitor Fred Logue, and from Margaret Gray SC, for the respondents. The judge said he is working on the judgment and planned to deliver it soon after the next law term opens.