Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment 20th Apr 2020
High Court to rule Friday on challenge to National Development Plan
‘Project Ireland 2040’ will lock-in fossil-fuel dependent infrastructure
The failure of the State to properly assess the impact of the National Development Plan and National Planning Framework (‘Project Ireland 2040’) and to fully examine the alternatives will be the subject of a High Court Judgment to be published electronically this Friday, 24 April, 2020.
Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] was granted leave to challenge the Irish Government’s adoption of ‘Project Ireland 2040’ in May 2018. Mr. Justice Barr presided over four days of hearings beginning on 10 March, 2020.
‘Project Ireland 2040’ is composed of the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan. It is intended to set the framework for a 1 million increase in the population of Ireland in the next 20 years with an infrastructure investment of €116 billion between now and 2027.
According to the environmental charity, many significant steps that should have been taken before the adoption of the Plans were not taken and key assessments were only taken after adoption. Obligations for assessment of the impacts under the Strategic Environmental Assessment and the Habitats Directive were not met, and Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions obligations were not properly incorporated.
FIE points out that ‘Projected emissions will continue to increase rather than decrease over the lifetime of the Framework. The objective of the Plan is given as to ‘minimise emissions’, which is contrary to the legally binding National Transition Objective which requires that emissions be ‘reduced’.
‘Project Ireland will lock-in fossil-fuel dependent infrastructure which will inhibit public and private efforts to transition to a low carbon economy while generating severe inertia in reducing emissions. Business as usual will undermine any hard-won prosperity for generations to come. The State has a duty to protect us all and may not make plans that are harmful to the well-being of citizens at large’, the FIE statement concluded.
A further Judicial Review brought by FIE reviewing the decision of the Legal Aid Board to refused to accept the charity’s application for legal aid for this case is pending before the High Court.
Friends of the Irish Environment are represented by FP Logue Solicitors, John Kenny, BL, and Neil Steen, SC
Judgment will be posted Friday morning to:
Contacts: Fred Logue +353 (0)1 531 3510 / Mobile 353 (0)87 1316023
Daithí Ó hÉalaithe (Irish language) +353 (0)87 6178852