The European Commission is asking Ireland to respect its obligations under EU rules on environmental impact assessment (EIA). Under the EIA Directive (2011/92/EU), Member States are required to carry out an assessment of the environmental impacts of projects likely to have a significant negative impact on the environment. This includes peat extraction projects. Ireland has had numerous problems with the transposition and application of the EIA Directive for this category of projects over the years.
The Court found in case C-392/96, Commission v. Ireland, that Ireland had failed to correctly transpose the original EIA Directive 85/337/EEC with regard to peat extraction activities. Whilst the legislation was amended and the case closed, the Commission subsequently received complaints that it was still not being applied to peat extraction activities in practice.
Given the significant peat extraction that has continued in Ireland since the EIA Directive was required to have been transposed and applied in 1988, the Commission raised these concerns in a letter of formal notice. As Ireland has failed to answer these claims, the Commission is now issuing a reasoned opinion.
Ireland has three months to bring itself into compliance, otherwise the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Source – European Commission