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Environmental impact statement for data centre did not have to address entire ‘masterplan’

By: Mark Tottenham BL

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Supreme Court dismisses appeal from High Court, and affirms refusal to quash a decision of An Bord Pleanala to grant planning permission for a data centre that was likely to form part of a wider 'masterplan', on the grounds that: (a) the Board was not obliged to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the masterplan when granting permission, as the individual data centre was capable of being a standalone project; (b) the Board had complied with its obligation in the EIA to take account of the potential later phases of the masterplan; and (c) it was not necessary to refer any relevant questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Finlay Geoghegan J (nem diss): Refusal to grant judicial review - planning permission for data centres and associated works - Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) - scope of appeal - whether to refer questions to Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) - prior refusal to refer question to CJEU - whether Board obliged to carry out EIA of masterplan before deciding on appeal - consideration of 'masterplan' - Section 172(1) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 - reg. 2(b) of European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Planning and Development Act, 2000) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 419 of 2012)) - 'project splitting' and standalone projects - alleged avoidance of EIA by project splitting - consideration of masterplan - validity of EIA.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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