Environmental group reacts to court ruling that grants Ryanair leave to participate in runway challenge

 

The High Court today allowed Ryanair to participate in a legal challenge being taken by Friends of the Irish Environment against Fingal County Council's decision to extend the permission granted in 2007 for a third runway at Dublin Airport. Ryanair, which originally opposed the third runway, now supports it and came to court claiming it had a financial interest in the runway going ahead.

 

FIE Director Tony Lowes commented: "We are deeply concerned that Ryanair, a company which denies the existence of climate change has now been accepted as a party to these proceedings. We are concerned that the court’s decision will skew the proceedings away from the environmental impacts of aviation towards commercial considerations.

 

Climate change is real. Irish and international law commit us to reducing emissions. Unconstrained growth in aviation as foreseen by the Dublin Airport Authority is not compatible with those legal obligations."

 

Across the world, climate debates are increasingly ending up in the courts in situations where national policy is not being implemented on the ground. In Austria, a federal court blocked the expansion of Vienna’s international airport because the increase in carbon emissions that a new runway would generate was deemed to be inconsistent with the country’s commitments to tackle climate change. In that case, the court decided that the public interest was best met by restricting growth in emissions rather than allowing airport expansion.

 

FIE is particularly concerned that Ryanair – a highly successful airline built on the Low-Cost Carrier model (LCC) – has a reputation for dismissing climate science. Michael O Leary has recently claimed that climate change is ‘complete and utter rubbish’, and that he does not accept that climate change ‘is real’. According to FIE director Tony Lowes, “these remarks suggest that the airline has no regard for science-based policy or indeed, the public interest. Ryanair is hiding its powerful commercial interests behind denial because it has no other argument left.”

 

FIE, which was founded in 1997, is represented FP Logue Solicitors and John Kenny, BL.

 

SPOKESPERSON: Sadhbh O’Neill    353 (0)87 2258599

Verification, documentation, and to arrange Irish language spokesperson

 Tony Lowes  353 (0)87 2176316

 

EDITORS NOTES

 

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) estimates

 http://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/GIACC/Giacc-4/CENV_GIACC4_IP1_IP2%20IP3.pdf

 

The recent decision of the Austrian Federal Administrative Court to refuse permission for a 3rd runway at Vienna Airport due to the negative impact of climate change and the contribution to it by air traffic:

https://www.bvwg.gv.at/amtstafel/291_ERKENNTNIS_2.2.17_ee.pdf?5spp26

Unofficial translation into English:

 http://wordpress2.ei.columbia.edu/climate-change-litigation/files/non-us-case-documents/2017/20170317_W109-2000179-1291E_decision.pdf

 

Background to the case being taken by FIE

Friends of the Irish Environment is seeking a Judicial Review of the decision of Fingal County Council to extend the 10 year period granted to Dublin Airport Authority to construct a third runway at Dublin Airport due to the increased greenhouse gas emissions resulting from ongoing aviation growth. FIE says this decision is contrary to the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act as well as The Irish Constitution and international agreements to tackle climate change.

 

 

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