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Ongoing weekly fine of €100,005 by EU Court highlights ‘a matter of indisputable seriousness’

category national | environment | press release author Tuesday November 12, 2019 22:29author by foie

Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment 12th Nov 2019

Industrial peat extraction at risk as EU Court triples fines requested by Commission

Ongoing weekly fine of €100,005 by EU Court highlights ‘a matter of indisputable seriousness’

An angry European Court of Justice ruled today that Ireland’s conduct shows that it has ‘not acted in accordance with its duty of sincere cooperation to put an end to the failure to fulfil obligations’ under the EU Directive on Environmental Assessment.

The Judgment arose out of the failure to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment for a windfarm in Derrybrien County Galway that led to a massive landslide on October 16, 2003 during which tonnes of peat were dislodged, polluting the Owendalulleegh River and killing 50,000 fish.

PRESS RELEASE
FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT
12 NOVEMBER, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Industrial peat extraction at risk as EU Court triples fines requested by Commission

Ongoing weekly fine of €100,005 by EU Court highlights ‘a matter of indisputable seriousness’

An angry European Court of Justice ruled today that Ireland’s conduct shows that it has ‘not acted in accordance with its duty of sincere cooperation to put an end to the failure to fulfil obligations’ under the EU Directive on Environmental Assessment.

The Judgment arose out of the failure to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment for a windfarm in Derrybrien County Galway that led to a massive landslide on October 16, 2003 during which tonnes of peat were dislodged, polluting the Owendalulleegh River and killing 50,000 fish.

‘Ireland has still not carried out, by way of regularisation, an environmental impact assessment of the wind farm’, the Court pointed out. ‘Consequently, Ireland has not taken the minimum steps required to comply with the judgment of 3 July 2008’.

To emphasise the ‘indisputable seriousness’, the European Court of Justice imposed greater penalties on Ireland than sought by the European Commission. The Environmental Enforcement Unit of the Directorate-General Environment had sought a lump sum fine of €1,685,000 and an ongoing daily fine of €12,264. The Court set the lump sum at triple the Commission’s request at €5,000,000 and raised the daily fine to €15,000. It pointed out that ‘The objective of setting a penalty payment is precisely to ensure compliance with that judgment.’

Friends of the Irish Environment’s Tony Lowes said that ‘This is only the beginning. The failure by the State to require Environmental Impact Assessments for industrial peat extraction was already under investigation by the European Commission as part of ‘Pilot’ proceedings. The wheels of justice in European move slowly but they move. The Commission is aware of the High Court’s recent striking down of Minister Bruton and Minister Murphy’s attempt to exempt peat extraction from planning controls. This deviousness has only increased the State’s vulnerability to yet more fines for flouting EU environmental law as no peat extractors, including Bord na Mona, have ever been subject to the Environmental Assessment Directive.

ENDS

CONTACTS
Tony Lowes: 353 (0)27 74771 353 (0) 87 2176316
Irish language: David Healy 0876178852

JUDGEMENT
http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf;jsessionid=12579959FE8A5B233DBAAB35D0605FCF?text=&docid=220533&pageIndex=0&doc...10825

Related Link: https://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/press-releases/17723-industrial-peat-extraction-at-risk-as-eu-court-triples-fines-re...ssion

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/107271

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