Court of Appeal challenge against Larne Lough gas cavern construction plans successful

Wednesday 19 June 2024

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The Court of Appeal in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has ruled in favour of Friends of the Earth and No Gas Caverns' legal challenge to the DAERA [Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs]'s decision to approve the construction of seven gas storage caverns underneath Larne Lough.

The appellants succeeded on both grounds of appeal:

  1. The judge erred in concluding that the impugned decisions were not decisions which had to be referred to the Executive Committee, pursuant to sections 20 and 28A of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (“the 1998 Act”).
  2. The judge erred in concluding that the community fund was not taken into account by the (Former) Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Edwin Poots MLA).

This successful appeal followed the High Court ruling in August 2023 that the gas development project was lawful.

Acland Bryant was instructed during his in-house legal role at Friends of the Earth. He is now a member of the Garden Court Chambers Environmental Law & Climate Justice Team.

Read the judgment summary here.

Read the Friends of the Earth press briefing here. See press coverage: BBC News

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