A DECISION by the High Court last week to quash planning permission for a large quarry in Co Monaghan could have major implications for other quarries throughout the State.
Following a judicial review sought by An Taisce, Mr Justice Peter Charleton quashed a decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant permission to John McQuaid for the retention of a quarry at Lemgare, Co Monaghan.
An Taisce originally appealed the decision of Monaghan County Council to allow quarrying on a major scale. This appeal was lost, but following judicial review, Mr Justice Charleton found in favour of the environmental charity.
The issue in the case centred on the legal status of existing quarrying on the site, with An Taisce arguing that any quarrying there had been small-scale before planning legislation required the registration of quarries.
Thus, it claimed, no legal basis had been shown for the “large-scale quarrying” on the site, which also had an area in excess of the five hectare threshold requiring an environmental impact assessment under EU law.
Quashing An Bord Pleanála’s decision, Mr Justice Charleton said that “regrettably, it is apparent on the face of the order that a number of significant errors were made in the decision of the board” and that the reasons given for it were “manifestly absent”.
Welcoming the judge’s ruling, An Taisce’s heritage officer Ian Lumley said it had “important implications for an unquantified number of quarries which obtained registration under 2000 legislation without legal justification and procedure”. An Taisce’s chairman Charles Stanley-Smith said the ruling would also have major implications for the board’s decision-making process and “highlights the need to give more explicit consideration to evidence submitted” to it.