Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Questions (57)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

57. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the court rejection of the Corrib gas terminal licence application if he will consider a system where environmental impact assessments for planning applications are undertaken independently by local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44804/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of 3 March 2011 in case C50/09 found that Irish legislation was not fully in conformity with the EIA Directive (2011/92/EU). Specifically, the Court found that in a case where a project requiring EIA required both planning permission and an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) licence, the fact that Irish legislation did not prevent the Environment Protection Agency from making a licensing decision before the planning permission application was decided, and therefore before the EIA was completed, meant that part of the overall consent for the project (i.e. the licence) was being decided without an EIA being first carried out, contrary to Articles 2 and 4 of the EIA Directive.

In order to comply with the Court ruling it was necessary to make amendments to the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 and the Planning and Development Act, 2000 in relation to the assessment of projects which require both a consent under the Planning and Development Act 2000 and an IPPC licence. These amendments were made in the European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) Regulations 2012, which came into effect on 30 September 2012 (new application for IPPC licences) and the European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) (No.2) Regulations 2012, which came into effect on 15 November 2012 (IPPC licence applications on hands).

I consider that the legislation in relation to the environmental impact assessment of the projects referred to above is now fully compliant with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and I have no plans further to amend the legislation in this regard.