The recent High Court judgment set aside the European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Peat Extraction) Regulations 2019 made by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the supplementary Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) Regulations 2019 made by me. These Regulations, in combination, introduced a streamlined system for the regulation of large scale peat extraction relating to areas of 30 hectares or more, to be solely under the remit of the Environmental Protection Agency’s integrated pollution control (IPC) system.
The effect of the judgment is that the consenting process for large-scale peat extraction reverts to the dual regulatory regime under both the planning and IPC licensing systems which was in operation prior to 25 January 2019. In relation to the planning system, this includes the availability of the ‘substitute consent’ process set out at Part XA of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, under which regularisation of any unauthorised development requiring Environmental Impact Assessment or Appropriate Assessment may be sought.
The implications of the judgment to the existing development consent framework regulating peat extraction are being considered by my Department and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General.