High Court challenges against telecoms masts in south Co Dublin

Groups from Kingswood, Saggart say An Bord Pleanála went against advice of inspectors

High Court challenges have been brought against decisions by An Bord Pleanála regarding two telecommunications masts in south Co Dublin. Photograph: iStock

High Court challenges have been brought against decisions by An Bord Pleanála regarding two telecommunications masts in south Co Dublin. Photograph: iStock

 

High Court challenges have been brought against decisions by An Bord Pleanála regarding two telecommunications masts in south Co Dublin.

The separate actions are being taken by bodies representing locals opposed to plans to develop one mast near Saggart and another constructed in Kingswood.

Both groups, represented by Oisín Collins SC, instructed by solicitor Aoife O’Connell, have brought judicial review actions against the board.

They were brought on grounds including that the board’s decisions were contrary to its own inspector’s recommendations.

In the first action, the Páirc Mhuire Residents group is challenging the board’s decision last May to grant permission to CK Hutchinson Networks Ireland for a 20m-high structure carrying telecommunications equipment and floodlights at St Mary’s GAA club in Saggart.

The proposed development would replace an existing 16m-high telecommunications structure nearby. The group’s concerns about the proposed development, which would be close to a school, include noise, a lack of public consultation and health issues. It says the board granted permission despite its own inspector recommending that planning be refused.

The group claims the board’s decision is unreasonable and there is no evidence that it had any regard to matters it is required to by law.

They further claim that the board’s decision was silent regarding requirements to carry out either an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or an Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the proposed mast.

They have added the proposed developer of the mast, Hutchinson Networks, as a notice party.

Without warning

In the second action, the Kingswood Heights Mast Objection Committee claims that last November, without any advance public warning, a mast was erected on public open lands owned by South Dublin County Council.

The committee claims that following investigations it discovered that the council had granted a licence, under Section 254 of the 2000 Planning and Development Act, to Cignal Infrastructure Ltd to operate the mast at Sylvan Drive, Kingswood. The council’s decision to grant the licence was appealed to An Bord Pleanála. In this instance an inspector appointed by the board recommended that that the application for a licence for the mast be refused.

However, the board dismissed the appeal and the committee claims the decision is flawed and should be set aside. It claims the decision was contrary to fair procedures and natural and constitutional justice. The committee, which cites a lack of public consultations as one of its key concerns, has brought an action seeking to have the board’s decision to dismiss the appeal quashed. They have added the developer as a notice party to their action.

Both matters came before Mr Justice Anthony Barr who, on an ex-parte basis, granted the groups permission to bring the actions. The matters will return before the courts in December.