Wednesday 7 December 2016

Environmentalist fails in High Court challenge over Killaloe bypass

Tim Healy

Published 04/05/2016 | 16:47

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AN environmentalist has failed in a High Court challenge to a decision to grant permission for a 2km bypass around Killaloe in Co Clare.

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Peter Sweetman, and an environmental protection company called "The Swans and the Snails Ltd", claimed the project, which includes the construction of a 170 metre long bridge over the River Shannon, will result in the direct, permanent, and irreversible destruction of a woodlands habitat.

The court heard that the habitat in question, an alluvial wet willow-alder-ash woodland, is located on the western side of the proposed bridge.

Mr Sweetman and the company argued permission for the project should never have been granted to Clare Co Council by An Bord Pleanala and the board failed to carry out an adequate assessment under the EU Habitats Directive.

Mr Sweetman, of Bunahowen Cashel, Co Galway, and the company, with an address at Rossport, South Ballina, Co Mayo, clamed an environmental impact assessment carried out by the board was deficient and did not comply with the directive and with planning legislation.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott refused their application to quash the permission.

He was satisfied the board received comprehensive technical and factual information in environmental impact and natura impact statements submitted for the application.

This was supplemented by further information, in response to requests from the board, and all of it was "subject to extensive exploration" at a hearing before a board inspector, he said.

The board also carried out its own environmental impact assessment and "had ample information before it" when reaching its decision to grant consent for the project, he said.

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