September 28, 2023

Europe’s top court backs Kilkenny road protesters

THE EU Court of Justice has issued a judgement that supports a number of objections raised by local residents to the planned extension of Kilkenny’s northern ring road.

The High Court sought a preliminary ruling from the EU Court of Justice because of the Irish court’s concerns about the adequacy of a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) provided by Kilkenny County Council concerning the road development.

The CJEU judgment, published this week, said an Appropriate Assessment (AA) of proposed development must dispel “all reasonable scientific doubt” concerning the effects of that proposed development on protected sites.

The ruling will now be applied to the case by four residents, Brian Holohan, Richard Guilfoyle, Noric Guilfoyle and Liam Donegan, when it resumes before the High Court on a date still to be fixed.

The four Kilkenny residents have challenged An Bord Pleanála’s July 2014 grant of consent to Kilkenny County Council for the ring-road extension.

The project proposes construction of about 1.5km of single carriageway road and one roundabout, adaptation of a second roundabout, plus a footpath and cycle track along the city side, and various other works.

The road crosses two Natura 2000 sites, the River Nore Special Protection Area, designated by Ireland under the Birds Directive, and the River Barrow and River Nore site of community importance (SIC) listed since 2004 under the Habitats Directive.

The applicants had claimed the Board failed to consider the environmental effects of the main alternatives studied and that an appropriate assessment purportedly carried out was deficient.


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