Licences, Environmental Impact Assessments, Burden of Proof, Permits, Prevention, Evidence, Jurisdiction

In this case, the plaintiff petitioned for a judicial review of a decision taken by the Environmental Protection Agency to grant an Integrated Pollution Control Licence to an energy company in order to build a gas turbine power plant.

The plaintiff challenged the permit decision on the basis that no Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the effects on the environment, including pollution, of development projects information that are later on assessed by means of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) had been conducted by the permit holder. Consequently, the plaintiff argued that the decision to grant the pollution control licence was not in line with Irish environmental law and with European environmental law which require an EIA for project that might impact the environment. But the court of first instance dismissed the appeal for judicial review as it considered that the responsibility for conducting EIA and for demanding and EIS rested on the planning authority and on the Environmental Protection Agency.

The plaintiff appealed the decision in front of the Supreme Court. The judges of the supreme court dismissed the appeal as it considered that the Environmental Protection Agency and the planning authorities had followed the EIA process and that the report on Flora and Fauna submitted by the Energy Company could be considered to be an EIA because it assessed the impact of the future project on the ecosystem. Therefore, the decision of the authorities was well motivated and was rational