Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Ceisteanna (235)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

235. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason Ireland was excluded from the transboundary impact assessment relating to the Hinkley Point nuclear plant in view of the fact that Ireland is the nearest state to this power plant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18286/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The United Kingdom has informed relevant Government Departments - i.e. my Department and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment - of developments in relation to plans to build new nuclear power plants at sites judged as potentially suitable, including Hinkley Point C.  However, prior to planning permission being sought for the proposed Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Plant, the United Kingdom authorities did not formally notify Ireland or any other country of the project in accordance with article 3 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary context (the Espoo Convention), because their transboundary screening assessment concluded that the project was not likely to have a significant effect on the environment of another European State. 

Notwithstanding the foregoing and following a process of engagement with the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee, the UK authorities invited Ireland and certain other European countries in 2017 to comment on the current environmental information in relation to potential transboundary impacts of the Hinkley Point C project, which is currently under construction. 

A national public consultation on the project was initiated on 20 February 2018, inviting members of the public and bodies prescribed for the purposes of consultation in relation to planning applications to make submissions or observations on the project to the planning authority concerned by 17 April.  The public consultation period has now expired and planning authorities are currently in the process of sending to my Department copies of submissions and observations received through the consultation process, prior to forwarding them to the relevant UK authorities for their consideration.