Second of three challenges against proposed second runway at Dublin Airport opens

Four CourtsConcerns expressed by local residents when Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) sought permission to extend planning for a new €320 million runway at Dublin Airport were not considered by the relevant planning authority, the High Court has heard.

Jerry Healy SC, acting for a group of North Dublin residents challenging Fingal Council’s decision to extend by five years planning permission allowing the DAA to construct the runway, told the High Court on Wednesday that his clients wrote to the council voicing their concerns after they learned of the DAA’s extension application.

The extension was sought by the DAA because permission for the development expired in August 2017. It said it did not go ahead with the new runway after permission was obtained due to the global economic recession and poor economic climate.

According to counsel, the council said it did not have to consider the residents’ submissions as part of any application to extend the planning permission and returned a cheque they included so their submissions could be considered as part of the DAA’s extension application.

This meant his clients, who are significantly affected by the proposed runway, had been “shut out” and “excluded from the process”, he said.

As a result, the residents have brought a challenge against the council’s decision to extend the permission.

The action, which is the second of three challenges to be heard in sequence by Mr Justice Max Barrett, has been brought by 22 individual residents - most with addresses at Kilreesk Lane, St Margaret’s, Co Dublin.

DAA wants to build a new 3,110 metre runway, located on 261 hectares in townlands north and north west of the airport terminal building as part of its plans to turn the airport into an international hub.

Opening the action on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Healy SC, appearing with Oisin Collins BL, said that his clients claim the development is illegal on grounds including that Fingal Council failed to consider or address their concerns about its effect on their homes and lands.

It is also their case that an Environmental Impact Assessment and an Appropriate Assessment of the possible impact the proposed development could have on the residents should have been carried out before the decision to extend the planning permission was granted.

The action, as well as a separate claim brought by environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment, are against Fingal County Council and the State, with DAA and Ryanair as a notice party.

The respondents and notice parties have opposed both actions.

The environmental group’s action has been brought on grounds including the decision to extend planning permission is not in compliance with various EU directives such as the Habitats Directive as well as the Planning and Development Act 2000 and is unlawful.

The hearing continues and is expected to last for several days.

Earlier, Mr Justice Barrett reserved judgment on the first of the three challenges, which was brought by the St Margaret’s Concerned Residents Group against the DAA. The group claims certain pre-construction works carried out in December last year on the proposed new runway by the DAA amounts to unauthorised development.

This, the group claims, is because the works were carried out before a waste management plan by the DAA was submitted to Fingal Co Council, which it is alleged breaches a condition of the original planning permission. The DAA denies the claim.

Aodhan O’Faolain, Ireland International News Agency Ltd.