AN environmentalist has lost his legal challenge to a grant of permission for a 2km bypass around Killaloe.
Peter Sweetman, along with an environmental protection company, The Swans and the Snails Ltd, claimed the project, which includes construction of a 170 metre long bridge over the River Shannon, will result in the direct, permanent, and irreversible destruction of a woodlands habitat.
The High Court, with Mr Justice Paul McDermott presiding, heard the habitat in question, an alluvial wet willow-alder-ash woodland, is located on the western side [Clare bank] of the proposed bridge.
Mr Sweetman and the company argued permission for the project should never have been granted to Clare County Council by An Bord Pleanála. It was claimed the board failed to carry out an adequate assessment under the EU Habitats Directive.
Mr Sweetman, of Bunahowen Cashel, County Galway, and the company, with an address at Rossport, South Ballina, County Mayo, claimed an environmental impact assessment carried out by the board was deficient and did not comply with the directive or planning legislation.
Dismissing the challenge, Mr Justice McDermott found the board had received comprehensive technical and factual information in environmental impact and natura impact statements submitted for the application.
This was supplemented by further information, in response to requests from the board, and all of the material was “subject to extensive exploration” at a hearing before a board inspector, he said.
The board also carried out its own environmental impact assessment and had “ample information” before it when reaching its decision to grant consent for the project, he held.
By Tim Healy