Irish bid to block UK nuclear plant dismissed

Irish bid to block UK nuclear plant dismissed

A bid to quash a decision giving permission for a new nuclear power station on the west coast of England facing Ireland has failed.

An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland – brought a challenge over the legality of the decision in March by the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey to grant development consent for the project at Hinkley Point in Somerset – around 150 miles from Ireland.

Its lawyers told Mrs Justice Patterson at London’s High Court that there was a failure to undertake “transboundary consultation” with the Irish people beforehand as required by the European Commission’s Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

The UK Government says that such consultation was not necessary as it had already dealt with the potentially very severe impact which nuclear accidents – although agreed to be unlikely – could have, were they to happen.

That screening decision process, in April 2012, took into account matters such as the technical information in the environmental statement, prior assessment of the likelihood of accidents and the role of the UK Office of Nuclear Regulation in licensing.

Transboundary consultation was only required in relation to significant environmental effects of which there was a “real risk” or a “serious possibility”, it argued, and not those in relation to which there was only a bare possibility.

Dismissing the case today, the judge rejected An Taisce’s argument that the UK Secretary of State misdirected himself as to the meaning of the relevant regulations in considering only impacts arising from the ordinary regulated operation of the nuclear power station and not “unlikely”, but nevertheless possible, impacts from other scenarios.

She also rejected its claim that there was a failure to comply with the regulations by omitting to take into account the possible impacts arising from unplanned or accidental effects of the development.

She said that opinions from a variety of expert sources provided a sound and reasoned rational basis for the UK Secretary of State to come to his decision and he had sufficient information to amount to a comprehensive assessment for the purposes of the Directive.


More in this Section

Irish Hospice Foundation announces new online info hub on funerals and grieving during Covid-19Irish Hospice Foundation announces new online info hub on funerals and grieving during Covid-19

'We know they are working': Harris says 'highly unlikely' restrictions will be lifted on Sunday'We know they are working': Harris says 'highly unlikely' restrictions will be lifted on Sunday

UCC’s School of Nursing transformed into HSE Oncology Day Service during COVID-19 crisisUCC’s School of Nursing transformed into HSE Oncology Day Service during COVID-19 crisis

NI paramedics ask fire service for Covid-19 supportNI paramedics ask fire service for Covid-19 support


Lifestyle

In a new daily feature, Arts editor Des O'Driscoll lists the best things on the box for the evening aheadTuesday's TV highlights: The past revisited

From DIY face masks to luxurious manicures, these will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.10 at-home beauty treatments to feel like you’re at a spa

Psychologist Dr Meg Arroll tells Liz Connor how to avoid feeling ‘trapped in’ while distancing yourself from others.How to avoid cabin fever while in self-isolation

Feeling a tad claustrophobic at home? Try some handy hacks for freeing up space, says Sam Wylie-Harris.6 ways to make your home feel more spacious

More From The Irish Examiner