herald

Friday 21 September 2018

Residents to fight on after court ruling on Ringsend

A GROUP opposing the proposed €270m expansion of the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant says its campaign against the project is not over.

The Sandymount & Merrion Residents Association (SAMRA) made the comment after losing its legal action against the scheme.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton yesterday dismissed the objection to the planned extension, which Dublin City Council argued was vital as the existing plant is unable to cater for the city's expanding population.

SAMRA opposed the project on a number of grounds, including that the plans failed to take into account the Dublin Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC), all of which were dismissed.

The designs contain provision for the construction of a 9km outflow tunnel into the bay.

SAMRA planning officer Lorna Kelly told the Herald: "It's not the end of the road. They (the council) still have to get a licence for the discharge of sewage, they have to get a foreshore licence for the tunnel and they have to get a licence for the disposal of waste from the tunnel."

She said the group intends making submissions during the public consultation processes for the discharge and disposal licences.

RELEVANT

Ms Kelly said "the fact that (the bay) is an SAC does have to be taken into account", meaning the higher environmental "standard relevant to an SAC will have to be applied".

She added that SAMRA has to return to court on Tuesday next week to inform the court whether an appeal will be lodged.

Ms Kelly "does not think" they will appeal but they will make that decision at a meeting tonight, she told the Herald.

In a statement, the council said it "welcomes the decision of the High Court to dismiss the application".

In their legal challenge, the residents had argued the proposed development failed to take into account the SAC, which was introduced under a EU directive aimed at protecting marine habitats and species.

The designation of the area from Rockabill to Dalkey Island as a SAC in 2012, a month after An Bord Pleanala (ABP) granted permission for the Ringsend extension, had "markedly increased" the protection of this environment, the judge ruled.

Instead of undermining the protection of Dublin Bay as the residents had claimed, the Minister, through the SAC, had "ensured that more stringent protections are legally required", Mr Justice Charleton added.

comurphy@herald.ie

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