Environmental Impact Assessments – Ireland

The European Courts have upheld a complaint against Ireland from the European Commission over its implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

The EIA Directive sets out to ensure that the impacts of certain public and private projects on the environment are identified and assessed prior to any development consent for their go ahead being given.

The European Commission reported Ireland to the ECJ claiming that Ireland’s implementation of the EIA Directive was deficient.

The Commission alleged that Ireland had not put in place sufficient measures to check whether proposed projects were liable to have significant effects on the environment or should be subject to an environmental impact assessment.

Furthermore, the Commission also contended that the system, operational in Ireland, allowing an application for retention permission to be made after development works had been carried out without consent, undermined fundamental objectives of the EIA Directive.

The ECJ upheld the Commission’s complaints, confirming that Ireland had failed to adequately implement the EIA Directive.

The ECJ also found that Ireland had fallen far short of the requirements of the EIA Directive by failing to ensure that the development consents given for certain wind-farm developments and associated works at Derrybrien and County Galway were preceded by an assessment with regard to their impact on the environment.

The full judgment of the ECJ on the case C-215/06 may be accessed via this link.

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