An Bord Pleanála intends to back down in a challenge to its planning permission for the development of a new cable car system between Cork’s Beara Peninsula and Dursey Island, the Supreme Court has heard.
Last November, Cork County Council was granted approval to decommission the existing cable car structure and build a two-way cable car line with operating stations, a mainland exhibition centre, a cafe and car park.
According to the planning documents, the current cable car allows for a single six-seater gondola lift, which is used by around 20,400 visitors a year. However, it is closed for maintenance until November.
The High Court heard on Monday that the board would not defend the judicial review action brought by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) earlier this year.
Counsel for the board, Aoife Carroll, said the parties would need some time to consider the terms of the final orders they would seek. This could result in the planning application being referred back to the board for reconsideration, the court heard.
In its lawsuit to have the building permit suspended, the FIE argued that the environment in which the infrastructure was to be built was “highly sensitive” as the Beara Peninsula Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds encompasses both the island and mainland sides .
FIE, represented by O’Connell & Clarke Solicitors, challenged the Board’s approval on a number of national and European grounds.
Reasoning included claims that the board had “erroneously” concluded that the development would not affect the integrity of European sites, when it allegedly could not have been determined without reasonable scientific doubt.
It also claimed the board had failed to scientifically justify its reasons for setting a monthly limit of 5,000 visitors, and said the estimated 60,000 annual visitors represented a “very significant increase” in traffic to Dursey Island.
Justice Richard Humphreys adjourned the matter two weeks to hear submissions on final orders.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/an-bord-pleanala-wont-fight-legal-challenge-to-new-dursey-island-cable-car-from-environmentalist-group-41630920.html Aboard Pleanála will not fight any legal challenge to the new Dursey Island cable car from the environmental group