Sunday 23 November 2014

Nuclear power plant challenge fails

Published 01/08/2014 | 14:24

An Taisce contested the legality of a March 2013 decision by Britain's energy secretary to grant development consent for the Hinkley Point project in Somerset
An Taisce contested the legality of a March 2013 decision by Britain's energy secretary to grant development consent for the Hinkley Point project in Somerset

An Taisce has lost a fight to take its case over a new nuclear power station on the west coast of England to Europe.

An Taisce contested the legality of a March 2013 decision by Britain's energy secretary to grant development consent for the Hinkley Point project in Somerset - around 240km from Ireland.

Its lawyers said there was a failure to undertake ''transboundary consultation'' with the Irish people beforehand, as required by the European Commission's environmental impact assessment directive.

At a recent judicial review hearing in London before three appeal judges, counsel David Wolfe QC said the court was required to consider the meaning and application of Article 7 of the directive and, in particular, the way in which the secretary of state dealt with the potential for significant nuclear accidents.

The British government argued that transboundary consultation was not necessary because nuclear accidents were not sufficiently likely due to the robustness of the British regulatory regime.

Mr Wolfe told Lord Justice Longmore, Lord Justice Sullivan and Lady Justice Gloster that the case turned on issues of European Union law on which the court was not going to be able to give a definitive view and the appropriate course was a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

But today Lady Justice Gloster, announcing the court's decision, said "This application for judicial review is dismissed and reference to the CJEU is not necessary."

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