An Taisce has been granted permission by the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a High Court decision allowing the construction of a cheese processing plant in Belview on the Kilkenny/Waterford border.
The €140 million facility, which is joint venture between Glanbia and Dutch company Royal A-Ware, has received planning permission but is opposed on environmental grounds by An Taisce.
In its determination made by Chief Justice, Frank Clarke and Justices O’Malley and Baker, the Supreme Court noted that “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”.
'Abuse of position'
IFA President Tim Cullinan has accused An Taisce of abusing their position as a prescribed body under the Planning Act by continually objecting to the Glanbia cheese plant application in the courts.
“The latest appeal to the Supreme Court is likely to stall the project for a further six months. An Taisce has a prescribed role in the planning system, yet they are bringing the statutory planning body An Bord Pleanála through the courts because they won’t accept their decision, or indeed a decision of the High Court,” he said.
“On each occasion, the process has found in favour of the application. Objecting for the sake of it is an abuse of the system,” he said.
"The Glanbia project was designed as a response to the challenge from Brexit and the need for our sector to diversify its products and seek new markets.
“Agriculture is the most exposed sector in the country. It’s irresponsible of An Taisce to continually obstruct a valid initiative that is designed to safeguard the livelihoods of farm families and the rural economy in the south east,” he said.
An Taisce said it welcomes the Supreme Court decision to accept this appeal which it believes will provide clarity on important points of law.
The environmental charity sought leave to appeal 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 such as An Bord Pleanála.
The matter will return to court in several weeks following the exchange of legal submissions at which point a hearing date will be assigned.