|It has been a little while since we sent out an update; and the SOS stand at the Saturday Market in Skibbereen is getting visitors inquiring into “what is happening now?”
The answer is ‘Not A Lot”. As you know we were granted a Judicial Review by the High Court and we had a Court Date of March 12th. The case was postponed for 4 weeks by request of An Bord Pleanála ( ABP ) . This is a usual occurrence. When a Judicial Review is granted the parties to that review are notified and given the opportunity to let the Courts know if they will be contesting the case.
The case has been adjourned again twice since then, by request of An Bord Pleanála; and so we are still waiting to hear their position. The next date in Court is July 2nd so we may have a better idea of “what is happening now” after that day.
An Bord Pleanála’s reason for adjournment is that they are overrun with cases.
In the mean time the Government has declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency and have stated they are committed to the National Mitigation Plan and the National Adaptation Plan. However at the same time as making this commitment, Government Departments are making decisions that run contrary to this declaration, such as the granting of planning permission for an incinerator in Cork Harbour, the destruction of an important Carbon Sink in Bantry Bay through mechanical harvesting of Kelp, the granting of exploration licences for oil and gas companies off the Coast of Kerry and of course the granting of Planning Permission for raw oil based polymer to be compounded in Skibbereen.
In all these places local people have come together in fund raising to take An Bord Pleanála to the High Court in order to challenge a decision that spells ecological devastation and runs contrary to the declared Climate and Biodiversity Emergency.
Judicial Review is not simply handed out to any one, however in all of these cases the High Court has ruled that the community have a reasonable case to bring and thus An Bord Pleanála have a case to answer.
If An Bord Pleanála are overrun with these cases as they claim, then surely there is something wrong with the criteria or process that they follow in their judgement.
These recent and ongoing actions of government departments, such as the planning and licensing departments demonstrate that in the absence of a clear and detailed government policy at a national level for ALL government departments to adhere to, we will not meet climate change targets however much we declare an emergency.
We all have a responsibility to pressure our politicians to create this clear government policy rapidly.
The Changing Climate is not waiting for us to catch up.
Watch out on our Facebook Page and Discussion Group Page to find out what happens on 2nd July.
– Fiona Vincent, SOS.