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Environmentalists launch legal challenge over new airport runway under climate law
Saturday May 13, 2017 23:39 by fie - Friends of Irish Environment
Press Release Friends Of The Irish Environment 8 May 2017
A Judicial Review brought by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) alleges that the Chief Executive of Fingal County Council failed to provide satisfactory explanatory reasons for granting the extension to the original decision to allow a third runway at Dublin Airport. FIE alleges that the record shows that the Chief Executive was fully aware that the extra runway would result in increased greenhouse gas emissions, in contravention of the objectives of the 2015 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act
Globally, aviation currently is responsible for about 5% of anthropogenic radiative forcing or human-generated climate change. However, while emissions from some countries and economic sectors are falling, emissions from international aviation are growing at over twice the rate of overall emissions. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) estimates that, if the current trends continue, aviation emissions will increase by up to 300% by 2050, the period over which overall global emissions must be massively reduced if we are to meet the targets set in the Paris Agreement.
The planned third runway at Dublin Airport is based on the scenario of unconstrained aviation growth and travel demand which is incompatible with the Paris Agreement. It reflects an implicit assumption by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), Fingal County Council and the Irish Government that no steps will be taken to limit the growth in aviation. Effectively the proposal assumes that we will ignore, or not bother trying to meet, the targets in the Paris Agreement.
According to FIE Director Tony Lowes’ affidavit, the Fingal Chief Executive confined his consideration to a number of 'entirely general observations in relation to the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the possibility of certain actions being taken by the European Union in 2017 and 2018. These observations do not discharge the Council’s obligations under the legislation to have regard to four criteria – the national mitigation plan, the national adaptation framework, the implementation of the national transition objective, and the objective of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions - before deciding to grant the extension.
In this case, the Chief Executive made no mention of these legal requirements. "The fact is that the international and national context in respect of climate change has moved on dramatically since the runway was first granted permission, which included a very limited assessment of climate impacts. Every citizen possesses constitutional and natural rights to bodily integrity, life, water, food, health and an environment consistent with their right to dignity and well-being. Climate change will directly and irrevocably impinge on each and all of those constitutional and natural rights", according to the organisation’s challenge.
FIE has drawn attention to the recent decision of the Austrian Federal Administrative Court to refuse permission for a third runway at Vienna Airport due to the negative impact of climate change and the contribution to it by air traffic.
Further, in granting an extension in time to a permission given in 2007 on the basis of a 2002 Environmental Impact Statement, the Council has failed to consider any of the body of recent research, including IPCC Reports, for the last 15 years. FIE further contend that the grant of an extension of time for the runway, ten years after it was first granted and without any public consultation, is contrary to EU law.
FIE, which was founded in 1997, is represented FP Logue Solicitors and John Kenny, BL.
SPOKESPERSON: Sadhbh O’Neill 353 (0)87 2258599
Verification, documentation, and to arrange Irish language spokesperson
Tony Lowes 353 (0)87 2176316
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) estimates
The recent decision of the Austrian Federal Administrative Court to refuse permission for a 3rd runway at Vienna Airport due to the negative impact of climate change and the contribution to it by air traffic:
Unofficial translation into English: