Plans for peat plant revoked

An Taisce has secured a court order overturning planning permission for the continued operation of a Bord na Móna peat-powered power plant in Co Offaly, employing 180 people.
Plans for peat plant revoked

A stay on the ruling continues to April next and a further stay may be sought.

The permission was quashed yesterday by Mr Justice Michael White on foot of his ruling earlier this month about the adequacy of the environmental impact assessment carried out in relation to the plant at Clonbollogue, operated by Edenderry Power Ltd.

In a judgment on October 10 last, Judge White ruled the assessment of the environmental impact of the continued operation of the plant was too narrow.

He adjourned the making of further orders to yesterday, when he granted an application by James Devlin SC, for An Taisce to quash the permission.

He granted a stay to April 30 next on that order and also listed the matter for mention on February 9, 2016, to allow for the prospect of a possible application to extend the stay beyond April.

He also awarded 65% of the costs of the proceedings to An Taisce against Bord na Móna .

An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, had in its proceedings challenged the board’s permission for the continued use and operation of an electricity-generating power plant at Clonbullogue, Co Offaly.

It was argued the environmental effects of extracting the peat as a fuel source for the plant was not properly assessed in accordance with an EU Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive.

In his October 10 judgment, Mr Justice White said there are possible indirect effects on the environment of the use of peat from designated bogs to power the station but consideration of any such indirect effects was completely excluded in the consideration of the application to extend the life of this plant.

That failure involved misinterpretation of the relevant legislation in relation to the EIA Directive, he said.

He also held that the court must intervene if the relevant article is misinterpreted by the appropriate authority.

The board is obliged to ensure the effectiveness of the directive, he found. Edenderry Power Ltd, Bord na Móna Energy Ltd, Bord Na Móna Plc, the Minister for the Environment and the State were all notice parties to the action.

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