Galway County Council’s planning application for a €600m ring road around Galway will be remitted to An Bord Pleanála for fresh consideration.
Final orders were made on Monday in three judicial review actions that had challenged the planning board’s permission for the 18km project that was intended to ease chronic traffic congestion in the city.
The planning application, which was first submitted in 2018, will revert to the stance it held on June 2021, immediately after An Bord Pleanála’s planning inspector made a submission on the proposal.
The board indicated in October it would not contest the challenge brought by campaign group Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE). Its concession came as it said it was “not aware” when it made its decision on November 8, 2021, that the Government had four days earlier adopted a new climate plan.
In a statement at the time, the board said its failure to consider the 2021 Climate Action Plan in accordance with a section of environmental legislation was “sufficient to vitiate the lawfulness of its decision”.
On Monday, An Bord Pleanála’s counsel, Fintan Valentine, said his client was consenting to the orders for remittal being made. The council, through its barrister Jarlath Fitzsimons, also indicated it was consenting.
Barristers representing the plaintiffs: FIE, the Galway Race Committee, and Brooks Timber & Building Supplies Ltd, of Old Naas Road, Dublin, were all happy for the orders to be made, which includes an order for their legal fees to be paid by the planning board.
Mr Justice Richard Humphreys made the orders sought.
Plans for a Galway bypass have long proved contentious. Permission for an outer bypass was granted in 2008 but cancelled in 2013 after a challenge in the European Court of Justice, which ruled the proposal would have a severe impact on a protected natural habitat.