PRESS RELEASE

FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT

11 APRIL 2013

WELCOME FOR EU COURT RULING ON GALWAY BY–PASS

The environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment have welcomed the Judgment from the EU Court of Justice on the Galway By Pass.

The Court has ruled that permission may not be given for developments on priority conservation sites where there is a risk that it will bring about ‘the disappearance or the partial and irreparable destruction of the protected site’. 

This ensures that problems we have had with cases like raised bogs – the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ – must no longer be permitted. Even the partial destruction of protected areas may not be permitted.


[In this case, the loss of approximately 1.47 hectares of limestone pavement in a site of 270 hectares.]

The Judgment also confirms the principle that it is not necessary to prove that a project will have lead to ‘irreparable destruction’ to refuse it permission.

‘The correct test is to determine if there is no reasonable scientific doubt that project will not have lasting adverse effects on the integrity of the site in the light of the best scientific knowledge in the field.’

It is especially telling that the Court ruled that ‘The precautionary principle should be applied’.’

‘According to meetings we have had with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, this principle has not been used in its decisions to intervene when Irish sites may be damaged. They insist that evidence of damage must be provided before action is taken. This is legally wrong and has made enforcement of EU law almost non–existent on the ground.’

‘We are writing to the Minister for Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltachta asking him to confirm that the Parks and Wildlife Service implements this ruling of the Court’, a spokesman said.

ENDS

Verification and contact: Tony Lowes 027 74771 / 0872176316

EU Court Judgment

Sweetman interviewed

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