High Court judge quashes a decision to proceed with plans for the A5 dual carriageway
In a High Court ruling this week plans for the A5 dual carriageway, proposed as part of a proposed key cross-border business route linking Dublin and the North West, have been quashed.
Last month the ‘Alternative A5 Alliance,’ a group of farmers, landowners and supporters seeking to block work on 85km stretches between Derry and Aughnacloy in County Tyrone won a judicial review challenge to the planned route on the basis that it breached a habitats directive .Mr Justice Stephens held there had been a failure to carry out an appropriate assessment of the Rivers Foyle and Finn Special Areas of Conservation under the habitats directive.
In his ruling on 8th April 2013 Mr Justice Stephens, referring to the Alternative A5 Alliance stated "They should not be left in any doubt about what may or may not occur in circumstances such as these where the department has acted unlawfully in breach of a habitats directive”
Lawyers for the Department requested time to meet the requirement to have an appropriate assessment carried out. Refusing this request Mr Justice Stephens said "The appropriate course in the exercise of my discretion is for the orders to be quashed." However he has put his order on hold for one week to allow time for the Department to lodge any appeal to his decision.
Legal costs were awarded to the Alternative A5 Alliance and a spokeswoman for the Alliance said “We feel we have been vindicated and we are also relieved to have our costs paid."
If you have been affected by a decision of a public body you may have grounds to judicially review this decision. Anyone considering challenging a public body by way of Judicial Review should seek urgent legal advice as very strict time limits apply in these cases.
Brian Moss at Worthingtons Solicitors has dealt with numerous judicial review applications and would be happy to deal with any enquiries in this area.