Arid Environment

Cork environmental group loses battle to stop reconsideration of rejected incinerator application

The Cork Harbor Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE) has lost a legal battle to stop An Bord Pleanala from reconsidering a planning application for an incinerator in Cork harbor.

A High court judge on Tuesday refused the group CHASE leave to appeal against the High Court remittal of the Indaver planning application for the incinerating plant back to An Bord Pleanala.

Mr Justice David Barniville said the questions proposed by CHASE in the appeal application did not involve any point of law of exceptional public importance.

And the judge said he was satisfied it would not be desirable in the public interest that an appeal should be brought to the Court of Appeal in respect of any of the issues raised by CHASE.

The judge said the application by CHASE was “somewhat different” to other applications for leave to appeal as CHASE was seeking the appeal in circumstances where it had already obtained an order from the court quashing the decision of An Bord Pleanala to grant permission for the incinerator plant at Ringaskiddy.

Last October, Mr Justice Barniville had quashed the 2018 planning permission to Indaver for the multi-million euro incinerator and remitted the application back to An Bord Pleanala for further consideration and determination.

In that judgment, Mr Justice Barnville said the planning process for the incinerator has to start now from 2017 immediately prior to a decision made on behalf of the board by Deputy Chairperson Conall Boland not to afford CHASE the opportunity of responding to the further information and submissions received from Indaver.

CHASE had sought leave to appeal the remittal of the planning application back to An Bord Pleanala. In his judgment today, Mr Justice Barniville said CHASE looking for leave to appeal had put forward four questions or points of law which it contended were points of law of public importance.

“I am not persuaded that the questions or points of law proposed by CHASE are points of law of exceptional public importance. Nor am I satisfied that it is desirable in the public interest that the applicant should be permitted to mount an appeal to the Court of Appeal in respect of these points,” he said.

The judge said his decision to remit Indaver’s planning application to An Bord Pleanala was made in the exercise of a wide discretion vested in the court on the basis of the application of well-established principles governing the remittal of planning applications.

He said the appeal sought arises from the court decision that the matter should be remitted to a point in time in the process to be considered by the Board in circumstances where the person whose involvement gave rise to the objective bias will no longer be involved.

“That is a very unusual situation. I find it hard to see how an appeal from a decision to remit the application in those circumstances would sit comfortably with the clear intention of the Oireachtas that a decision of the High Court in a case like this should generally be final and there should be no appeal save in the exceptional circumstances provided for in Section 50 of the legislation,” the judge said.

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