Data center operator sues against ban by South Dublin County Council


A High Court challenge was brought to South Dublin County Council’s decision to ban the construction of additional data centers in its functional area during the life of the 2022-2028 development plan.

The court review action was brought by Echelon DC Holdings Limited, which develops and owns data centers.

The challenge comes after a vote by the council’s elected members last June to amend the current development plan to include a ban on building more data centers in its functional area.

In a motion submitted by the Council’s People Before Profit members, Council voted to ban data centers and declare them not permitted in any zoning as there is no capacity for additional data centers in the South Dublin area.

Echelon, represented by Neil Steen SC, claims the ban is unlawful and should be lifted.

The ban violates national and regional data center policies, is unreasonable, irrational and violates various fundamental rights, it said.

The attorney told the court that the plan’s amendment was opposed by the council’s chief executive, who recommended the plan remained unchanged compared to the previous development plan, namely that it should list data centers as “open for review”.

The planning regulator’s office had also said that it believed the ban should not be included in the development plan as it was inconsistent with regional policy objectives and the spatial and economic strategies for the Midlands and East regions.

The court also heard that the Minister for Local Government and Planning had pointed this out late last Month to the Council that the plan’s data center ban must not be maintained.

This was because the ban was inconsistent with various national and regional policies and targets promoting Ireland as a Sustainable Destination for data centres, and lacks an adequate evidence base.

The minister has asked the parties to make submissions before a final decision is made.

Echelon, which develops, owns and operates data centers in various locations, claims that keeping the ban would affect the businesses it operates in the South County Dublin area.

It owns land in Clondalkin and Newcastle, County Dublin, within the functional area of ​​the Council, which are the subject of building permits for data center development. There are also plans to expand the data centers at these locations in due course.

In its lawsuit, Echelon is seeking an order to reverse the council’s June 22 decision to designate data centers as “not allowable” under the zoning targets in its development plan.

It is also seeking an order directing the council to classify data centers as “open to review” according to the various zoning targets included in the development plan.

It is also seeking an order rescinding certain zoning amendments that Echelon said should be removed.

The case was adjourned until November. Data center operator sues against ban by South Dublin County Council

Fry Electronics Team

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