Supreme Court. File pic.
The long-running legal saga surrounding a proposed cheese-processing plant in South Kilkenny is back in court this week.
Judges of the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the An Taisce v An Bord Pleanala appeal. An Taisce are challenging a decision by An Bord Pleanala to grant permission to Glanbia and partners to construct the cheese-processing facility in Belview.
The case is listed for remote hearing on Wednesday morning. It is scheduled to last two days.
An Taisce are taking their case to the Supreme Court after being given leave to appeal a High Court decision of April 2021, which upheld the planning permission.
Permission for the plant was first granted by Kilkenny County Council in November 2019 then upheld by An Bord Pleanala in July 2020. An Taisce sought a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision, in the High Court. The High Court upheld the planning decision.
Granting leave to appeal the High Court decision to the Supreme Court, last September, judges said: “bringing further clarity as to the proper approach to evidence or argument in relation to relevant scientific matters in judicial review proceedings of this type is a matter of general public importance which arises in these proceedings”.
The continental cheese manufacturing facility at Belview is a strategic partnership between Glanbia Ireland and Dutch dairy producer Royal A-ware. Developers say it will create a new route to market for milk supplied by Glanbia Ireland’s network of 4,500 family farms and diversify its portfolio of consumer dairy products and ingredients as part of a Brexit mitigation strategy.
An Taisce says a plant of this size will require quantities of milk, and dairy farm activity, that is not compatible with Ireland’s commitments under the Paris Climate Accord.
The organisation sought to appeal the High Court decision as it believes the original judgment gives rise to points of law of general public importance about how the environmental impact of large projects should be assessed by planning authorities like An Bord Pleanála.
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