Dublin Airport runway challenges thrown out

By Ann O'Loughlin

Three legal challenges against plans for a new €320m runway at Dublin Airport have been thrown out by the High Court.

Mr Justice Max Barrett dismissed the actions which arose over the proposed development of a 3,110 metre runway, located on 261 hectares in townlands north and north west of the airport terminal building.

The second runway has been deemed vital by parties including the Dublin Airport Authority to proposals to turn the airport into an international hub.

While the judge accepted there is a constitutional right to an environment, as was argued by Friends of the Irish Environment in its challenge, he held it did not arise in circumstances where the group was not entitled to participate in the decision extending permission for the runway.

The environmental group's action was brought on grounds including the decision to grant planning permission is not in compliance with various Eu directives such as the Habitats Directive as well as the 2000 Planning and Development Act and was unlawful.

The group also argued the proposed runway would result in additional greenhouse gas emissions which will increase the pace of climate change.

In dismissing that action the Judge said while there was a basis to contend for the recognition of that existing but unenumerated constitutional right, the group did not have a right to participate in the decision to extend the planning permission under Section 42 of the 2000 Planning and Development Act.

The group, he said had failed to establish there is any disproportionate interference with the personal constitutional right to an environment that is consistent with the human dignity and wellbeing of citizens at large.

That case was also brought against Fingal County Council and the State, with Dublin Airport Authority plc and Ryanair as a notice parties.

They had all rejected the claims.

The Judge also dismissed the claim by St Margaret's Concerned Residents Group - of which the individual residents are members - against the DAA.

The residents claimed certain pre-construction works carried out in December of last year on the proposed new runway by the DAA amounted to unauthorised development.

The development was carried out in breach of a condition of the planning permission granted by An Bord Pleanala in 2007 allowing the DAA construct the runway, they claimed.

They further claimed a required waste management plan was not submitted to the local authority Fingal Co Council until February 2017 after the solicitor for the residents had raised the matter.

In his ruling the Judge said "laws matter, rules matter;but mistakes happen" and in this case he was not exercising the court's discretion to find in favour of the residents.

The DAA had argued that no unauthorised development had occurred.

The judge further dismissed the action brought by 22 individual residents - most with addresses at Kilreesk Lane, St Margaret's, Co Dublin who alleged the development was illegal and that Fingal Council failed to consider or address their concerns about its effect on their homes and lands.

The Judge said he respected the fighting spirit of the residents in this case, and again "sympathised" with them in the predicament they found themselves in.

However the court was satisfied to dismiss their action against Fingal County Council and the State, with Dublin Airport Authority plc and Ryanair as notice parties.

They had all rejected the claims.

The cases have been adjourned for a week to allow the various parties consider the decisions. It is not known whether an appeal will be taken against any of the rulings.

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