An Taisce challenges contentious upgrade of the scenic N86 Dingle Route

14th January 2015
Press Release

On January 13th 2015, An Taisce was granted leave to Judicially Review An Bord Pleanála's November 2014 decision, to grant permission for the N86 Dingle to Annascaul & Gortbreagoge to Camp Road Improvement Scheme (Note 1).

The route is renowned for its scenic quality, natural and built heritage; including prehistoric features. In summary: the scheme proposes to widen the road and add cycle lanes resulting in a wide range of environmental impacts, including visual landscape impacts.

An Taisce’s challenge to this decision of the Board to grant permission is based on the Board’s failure to fulfil obligations under the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (Note 2). The case is due to return to the court in March.

This is the second time that this scheme has been judicially reviewed. Kerry County Council challenged an earlier decision by An Bord Pleanála in Sep 2013 to refuse the same scheme. That challenge resulted in the Board’s decision being quashed and remitted to the Board in April 2014. On revisiting the same scheme again, this time the Board granted permission and this latest decision is now under challenge by An Taisce.

John Harnett, Chair of An Taisce commenting on the challenge said:

“The impact of this development proposal on this most scenic route into the world-renowned Dingle peninsula, so rich in its natural and built heritage is of concern to An Taisce. In particular, the manner in which the assessment of this scheme has been compromised by carving an original schemed of 32 km up into chunks and the failure then to rectify omissions in the assessment of the whole 32 km scheme, is key among our reasons for bringing this challenge."

He continued

"An Taisce is concerned with the precedent here in subverting the objectives and obligations of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, which requires the assessment of projects as a whole to be assessed by the Competent Authority, in this case - An Bord Pleanála.

The EIA directive is such an important instrument to us all for ensuring the environmental impacts of development are assessed properly in order to inform the whole consent procedure, and to address necessary environmental mitigation and protections as necessary.

An Taisce is seeking to uphold the law in order to protect our shared heritage”

ENDS

For further information, please call:
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.ie

NOTES:

  1. An Bord Pleanála reference PL08.HA0048
  2. DIRECTIVE 2011/92/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, the EIA Directive”
  3. Permission was granted by the Board in November 2014, Board Ref PL08 .HA0048 following an earlier successful Judicial Review by Kerry County Council of an earlier decision in September 2013 by the Board to refuse the same scheme, Board Ref PL08 .HA0035, That court challenge resulted in the Board’s decision being quashed and remitted to the Board following on the judgement in April 2014 by Mr Justice Charleton. The Judgement determined in effect that the Board had not discharged its obligations under the Roads Act of 1993 as amended in making that initial decision which refused permission. The Board then in revisiting the scheme, reversed its decision and granted permission in November 2014.
  4. In October 2010, Kerry County Council, KCC made an application for direction to An Bord Pleanála in respect of the Environmental Impact Assessment requirements for a 32 KM scheme from Dingle to Tralee, Board Ref PL08. HD0019. KCC then decided to withdraw that given the availability of funding for a 4.2km component of the scheme which it advanced under the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended and associated regulations and permitting it itself as a Local Authority own Development, without Assessment under the EIA directive. Within 2 months of withdrawing the application for direction for the 32 km route, it submitted an application to the Board for direction on EIA requirements for the remaining 28 km of the route, lying immediately either side of the 4.2 km stretch. ( Board Ref PL08. HD0024) The Board determined an EIS was required for the purposes of Environmental Impact Assessment. That 28 km stretch and how the Board has fulfilled its obligations under the EIA Directive is the subject of the current challenge. An Taisce argues the objectives of the EIA Directive have been compromised, that the Board has failed to fulfil its assessment obligations, and that the Board hasn’t adequately explained its reasons for coming to the decision and conclusions it has.