European court finds that Shannon LNG does not have valid planning permission

By Sébastien Bertrand (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tiseb/4592786358/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A European court says that Shannon LNG does not have valid planning permission.

The European Court of Justice has published its opinion following the legal challenge to An Bord Pleanála’s decision.

The planning appeals board had granted an extension of time for the planning permission given to the liquified natural gas terminal on the Tarbert Ballylongford landbank.

The original permission planning permission for Shannon LNG was granted in 2008.

The High Court sought advice from the European Court of Justice as to whether an extension of the original time period granted for planning permission triggers the requirement for a new or updated environmental assessment under the EU Habitats Directive.

The Court of Justice is the supreme court of the European Union and one of its functions is to interpret EU law.

The court’s advocate general states that the original permission, granted in 2008, should not have been extended without an environmental impact assessment being carried out.

This means the challenge by Friends of the Irish Environment against Shannon LNG now goes back to the High Court, which can choose to accept the interpretation or not.

An acceptance by the High Court means Shannon LNG would require a new environmental assessment and a new granting of planning permission.