An Taisce's objection to Glanbia's proposed new cheese plant has been rejected by the High Court.
An Taisce had sought a judicial review into An Bord Pleanala's decision to uphold planning for a cheese plant at Glanbia's Belview, Co Kilkenny, processing plant.
The heritage body opposed the plant, stating that An Bord Pleanala had failed to take proper account of the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the milk production required for the plant.
Glanbia's new plant is a joint venture with Dutch company Royal A-ware to produce gouda soft cheese for continental markets, with an estimated requirement for an additional 350m litres of milk.
Legal submissions were presented to Justice Richard Humphreys in March. He delivered his judgement on Tuesday morning (20 April). In it, he rejected An Taisce's contention, and reaffirmed An Bord Pleanala's upholding of the planning approval for the plant granted by Kilkenny County Council in November 2019.
Glanbia last month reacted to the pressure put on their processing capacity from the delay in the cheese plant by introducing a series of milk supply restrictions for 2022 which have angered Glanbia's supplier base.
An Taisce can appeal this decision to the Supreme Court, and has some weeks to decide whether it will exercise this right. If such a move is made, it could be another 12 months before that process concludes. If An Taisce chooses not to, the cheese plant could proceed to the build phase later this year.
An announcement from Glanbia on the issue states: "Glanbia Ireland welcomes the decision of the High Court to uphold the decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for its new continental cheese processing plant at Belview. The new plant, which is to be developed under a joint venture agreement with our Dutch partner Royal A-Ware, is a vital Brexit diversification measure and is important for rural Ireland and for Ireland’s dairy sector as a whole."
An Taisce said it is now considering the judgment to determine if there are grounds which warrant an application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal or for an application to the Supreme Court.