Protected Areas, Torts, Audits, Environmental Impact Assessments, Administrative, Permits, Forests

In this case, the plaintiff is an association challenging a decision of the Ministry of Environment to authorize the development of an underground high voltage line that would cross two protected areas of EU importance.

The plaintiff grounded his claim on the facts that the decision was taken without taking into consideration the environmental impact assessment which was required to grant the permit, and therefore was not motivated. Additionally, the plaintiff also pointed out that no consultation of the local communities and of environmental associations had taken place and that the decision does not apply the legal framework on protected areas.

The Tribunal dismissed the appeal of the association on the basis that the law did not have any requirement for the Ministry of Environment to motivate its decision and to make references to the environmental impact assessment. The Tribunal also held that the consultation of the local population and environmental associations was not necessary because the high voltage line is a buried one and that the environmental impact assessment concluded that the risk where minimal. Finally, the Tribunal considered that the measures required by the Ministry of Environment  in order to deliver the permit and the possibility for the Ministry of Forest and Water to modify the permit in order to protect the nature were enough to comply with the legal framework on protected areas.