Ireland’s main heritage group is taking its challenge to plans for two new nuclear power plants in the west of England to the British High Court today.
An Taisce wants to bring a judicial review over the legality of a decision in March by the British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to grant permission for the development at Hinkley Point in Somerset – 150 miles from the Irish coast.
Its lawyers say there was a failure to consult with the Irish people beforehand and that consultation would have allowed proper and full consideration of the impact of the plant across boundaries.
Rosa Curling, from law firm Leigh Day, said that the two-day hearing in London before Mrs Justice Patterson was aimed at giving the Irish public “a voice”.
James Nix, policy director for An Taisce, said: “This case is not about interfering with the right of the UK authorities to make their own decisions, nor about being pro or anti-nuclear.
“It is about ensuring that the rights and interests of the Irish public and their concern for their environment are not excluded from those decisions, and that the Irish public is properly consulted in accordance with the law on a project of this nature.
“Ireland’s agriculture, food, fishing and tourism – which are our essential indigenous industries – are critically dependent on the quality of our environment, as is the health of our people.
“This is therefore a matter of considerable importance and concern for Irish people, and for our interest in our environment.
“An Taisce views compliance with environmental law as a fundamental building block in our mission to protect Ireland’s built and natural environment.”