Green light for High Court challenge against LNG terminal on Shannon Estuary

Aodhan O'Faolain

Reporter:

Aodhan O'Faolain

Green light for High Court challenge against LGN terminal on Shannon Estuary

AN ENVIRONMENTAL NGO has secured permission to bring a High Court challenge against An Bord Pleanala's decision to extend planning permission to develop a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminal on the Shannon Estuary.

Friends of the Irish Environment CLG have brought proceedings aimed at quashing the planning authorities' decision to extend permission for a period of five years to develop an LNG terminal, which includes four large tanks, jetties to receive ships, and associated works at Kilcolgan, near Tarbet in north Co Kerry.

Permission for the facility, where gas will be shipped to be used by consumers in Ireland and Europe, was granted in 2008. 

While the facility has not been constructed the developers Shannon LNG Ltd applied for and was granted an extension on the planning permission on July 13th last  

The NGO has brought proceedings against An Bord Pleanála claiming that it has failed to take account of the possibility the of significant effects the proposed development will have on local wildlife and flora.

It also claims that in deciding to extend permission An Bord Pleanala failed to take into account the 2015 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 which is intended to drive Ireland’s transition in line with its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

The NGO, represented in court by John Kenny Bl instructed by solicitor Fred Logue, seeks an order quashing the decision and a declaration that it failed to exclude the possibility of significant effects the development would have on Bottlenosed Dolphins in Lower River Shannon SAC. 

The NGO also seeks declarations including that the Board erred in law by failing to take account of up to date and relevant information available to it in the course of its Screening for appropriate assessment under the EU Habitats Directive.

The proposed developer Shannon LNG Ltd, which first sought permission to build the facility in 2007, and Kerry County Council are notice parties to the action.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted by Mr Justice David Barniville on Thursday.

The Judge, who has been specially designed to hear challenges against decisions concerning strategic infrastructure developments, said the case was one which was suitable for inclusion in the fast track list designed to speed up hearings concerning strategic infrastructure.

The case will be mentioned before the court later this month.