A new judgement from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) may have major implications for a proposed ring road extension in Co Kilkenny on environmental grounds.
Following a request from the High Court, the CJEU issued a preliminary ruling last week on An Bord Pleanála’s (ABP) decision to grant consent for the 1.5km ring-road extension back in July 2014. The proposed road would cross both the River Nore and River Barrow. Both rivers are Natura 2000 protected sites under European Directives to protect rare and threatened habitats and species.
As such, the developer, Kilkenny County Council, was required to carry out certain environmental assessments as part of its application to the Board. Four Kilkenny residents, however, raised concern with the project’s Natura Impact Statement (NIS) and sought a High Court order annulling ABP’s decision.
The Natura Impact Statement (NIS) is a key protection mechanism to consider possible conservation implications of any plan or project on a Natura 2000 site before a decision is made to allow that plan or project to proceed.