An Taisce has announced its intention to seek to appeal last month’s High Court decision dismissing the environmental group’s objections to the construction of a Glanbia milk processing plant in Belview, Co Kilkenny.

“The board of An Taisce has unanimously agreed to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in respect of the recent decision by Mr Justice Humphreys dismissing its challenge to An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant planning permission for the Belview cheese plant,” the organisation has said.

The group has stated that its plans to again appeal the court decision have been made in consideration of what an Taisce believes is the relevant authorities’ signals that indicate intensive agriculture has had an impact on environmental parameters.

“Our concerns are increasingly underpinned by a series of reports from the Environmental Protection Agency and other authorities indicating the impacts of intensive agriculture on water and air quality and the increasing greenhouse gas emissions from that sector,” an Taisce commented.

Highest court in the land

The environmental organisation has said that it is conscious of farmers’ reluctance to embrace such an appeal after the High Court’s rejection of the group’s concerns relating to an Bord Pleanála’s granting of permission for the project.

“An Taisce has considered this step carefully and reiterates that it is keenly aware of the widespread concerns within the farming community and elsewhere about the wellbeing of farmers who have invested heavily in this sector and the consequences for them if it does not continue to expand as proposed in various Government and industry plans.

“The implications however of such expansion for the health of our essential ecosystems and the consequences for Irish rural communities are enormous and irreversible.

"It would thus be irresponsible of us not to seek the support of the highest court in the land to advocate for the interests of a sustainable future for nature,” an Taisce said.

Right of appeal

The group added that its board’s decision to seek to further appeal the courts’ rulings in favour of An Bord Pleanála’s granting of permission to Glanbia within the entitlements granted by the State to entities such as itself.

“In doing so, we are availing of the entitlement of all citizens and entities in the State to the full capacity of the judicial system, an entitlement that should never be set aside for the convenience of commerce or politics or to appease sectoral interests."