Judge plans to visit site of proposed Intel expansion
The High Court has started hearing a challenge from a local man to quash the authorization for a € 3.76 billion expansion of the Intel Ireland plant in Co Kildare.
Thomas Reid says the project will expand Intel’s 160-acre campus to 30 acres, take more than four years to build, and involve two years of rock mining to bring the structures up to training level.
At the operational stage, environmental emissions will increase, there has been no proper consideration of what is effectively large-scale quarrying and no information prior to An Bord Pleanála on the entire project, he claims. -he.
In discussions Wednesday with James Devlin SC, with Margaret Heavey, commissioned by Brian Harrington, for Mr Reid, Judge Richard Humphreys said he would consider visiting the site. Mr. Devlin, who had commented on the potential impact of the project on sites protected under the Habitats Directive, said his side would welcome a visit.
Mr Reid won a landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling preventing the use of purchase orders for his 29-acre Hensor House farm, which dates back to the mid-1700s.
His house is located approximately 500m west of the development project site.
A judicial review
Mr Reid’s legal challenge to An Bord Pleanála’s authorization in November 2019 for the expansion of the Intel plant, which opened this week before Judge Humphreys, is taking place on a more limited basis than he would not have liked it.
This follows from the fact that Humphreys J. partially granted Intel’s preliminary request, supported by the chamber, to exclude certain evidence on which it wished to rely.
The judge did so for reasons such as Mr Reid did not raise certain issues with council when he appealed for permission from Kildare County Council for the extension.
He also found that certain material provided in the affidavits filed for Mr. Reid was inadmissible as it was new substantive scientific evidence. He admitted some, but not all, of the evidence of a research scientist, an expert on lichens and bryophytes (moss-like plants) filed in Mr Reid’s name.
In his challenge, Mr Reid claims that the board’s authorization was granted contrary to the requirements of various EU directives and related Irish law. The directives in question are the habitat directives, environmental impact studies and Seveso (control of the risks of major accidents involving dangerous substances).
He says Intel’s manufacturing plant adjoins the Rye / Carton River Valley Special Conservation Area (SAC), which has conservation goals, including for bryophytes. He claims that there is a risk to this site related to emissions if it is not properly mitigated.
His case is against counsel, represented by Rory Mulcahy SC. Intel, represented by Brian Kennedy SC, is a notification party.
By opposing the action, the chamber rejects the allegations, including the allegations that it acted contrary to the guidelines. He said he considered that there was no likelihood that the development would have a significant effect on four European sites in Dublin Bay. He was also convinced, after carrying out an appropriate assessment, that the development would not harm the integrity of the Rye River Valley / Carton SAC in view of the conservation objectives of this site. He denies having failed to make assessments based on the best scientific knowledge in the field.
The case is submitted to Judge Humphreys via a telescopic hearing, involving an application for leave for judicial review and the case on the merits being heard together.
The judge, who heard lengthy submissions early on regarding the scope of the hearing, said he would not reverse his April ruling on Intel’s request to exclude certain evidence.
The case continues Thursday.