An Taisce has confirmed that it will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in respect of the decision by the High Court to dismiss its challenge to the grant of planning permission for the Glanbia Belview cheese plant in Co. Kilkenny.

In the 36-point judgement in July, An Taisce’s application for judicial review of planning permission for Glanbia’s proposed cheese manufacturing facility was dismissed by Justice Richard Humphreys.

In a statement to Agriland today (Monday, August 9), An Taisce said that its Board of Trustees has unanimously agreed to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in respect of the recent decision.

The continental cheese production facility planned for Belview is a joint venture between Glanbia Ireland and international dairy firm, Royal A-ware.

Appealing would be in ‘public interest’

An Taisce said that its decision is “based on a considered analysis of the legal aspects of the case and is rooted in the principles and values central to the mission and role of An Taisce – to protect and advocate for ecological resilience and the future viability of the natural environment”.

“Our concerns are increasingly underpinned by a series of reports from the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] and other authorities indicating the impacts of intensive agriculture on water and air quality and the increasing greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions from that sector,” the statement from An Taisce reads.

“It is our conviction that the original judgement raised points of law that are of exceptional public importance and which require to be appealed in the public interest.

“The judgement also creates a precedent in law that dilutes a number of important prior decisions that served to ensure rigorous assessment of the environmental impacts of proposed developments at the planning stage.”

Concerns about Belview facility

An Taisce said it has “considered this step carefully and reiterates that it is keenly aware of the widespread concerns within the farming community and elsewhere about the well-being of farmers who have invested heavily in this sector, and the consequences for them if it does not continue to expand as proposed in various government and industry plans”.

“However, the implications of such expansion for the health of our essential ecosystems and the consequences for Irish rural communities are enormous and irreversible,” the statement continues.

“It would thus be irresponsible of us not to seek the support of the highest court in the land to advocate for the interests of a sustainable future for nature.

“In doing so, we are availing of the entitlement of all citizens and entities in the state to the full capacity of the judicial system, an entitlement that should never be set aside for the convenience of commerce or politics or to appease sectoral interests.”