High Court to decide whether Cork incinerator application should be reconsidered by planning board

High Court to decide whether Cork incinerator application should be reconsidered by planning board

Following his decision last month that the board’s permission for the incinerator was tainted by objective bias, the judge must decide between either quashing the permission simpliciter, with the effect the entire planning process has to start again, or to remit the planning application to the board for reconsideration. Picture: iStock

A High Court judge will hear submissions in June before deciding whether An Bord Pleanála should reconsider an application for permission for a €160m incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Cork harbour.

Following his decision last month that the board’s permission for the incinerator was tainted by objective bias, Mr Justice David Barniville, must decide between either quashing the permission simpliciter, with the effect the entire planning process has to start again, or to remit the planning application to the board for reconsideration.

A local environmental group, Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE), which brought the successful challenge, wants the permission quashed with no remittal.

In his March judgment, the judge said he would need “a lot of persuasion” to quash the permission without returning the matter to the board for reconsideration.

In that judgment, he found CHASE was entitled to succeed on the basis the board’s May 2018 majority five/two decision to grant permission was tainted by objective bias because Conall Boland, then deputy chairperson of the board, had previously worked for a firm of consulting engineers engaged by Indaver to make submissions for reviews of waste management plans advanced by Cork County Council and Cork City Council.

The judge was satisfied the work done by Mr Boland in 2004 had a “clear, rational and cogent” connection with Indaver’s 2016 application for permission for the incinerator development.

He said Mr Boland was also the presenting member of the board in respect of its consideration of the planning application.

The Board has said it will not be appealing the court’s judgment.

When the case returned for further mention before the judge on Tuesday, he noted CHASE wants the permission quashed with no remittal but Indaver wants the matter remitted and the Board’s reconsideration to start at a particular point in the process.

It seemed the Board agreed the matter should be remitted, he added.

Having heard the sides, the judge said he would hear submissions on the remittal application on June 8.

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