The proposed N6 Galway city outer bypass may now need to go back to the drawing board following a legal opinion from a European Court Advocate General that the current plan breaches the EU habitats directive. Alternatively the proposed scheme will have to go to Stage 4 Imperative Reasons of Over-riding Public Interest (IROPI) in the Appropriate Assessment Process.
The aquatic ecology section of the original Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement of the proposed N6 Galway city outer bypass was prepared by Ecofact Environmental Consultants Ltd. However the opinion is related to terrestrial ecology issues.
The environmentalist Peter Sweetman had claimed that a designated special area of conservation (SAC) near Lough Corrib would be adversely affected by the road, and a legal opinion issued by an Advocate General of the European Court of Justice last week upheld this challenge.
The Advocate General concluded that the European Court of Justice should advise the Supreme Court that “an effect which is permanent or long-lasting must be regarded as an adverse one” and, in reaching such a determination, “the precautionary principle will apply”. It would be most unusual for the ECJ to reject an advocate general’s opinion.
Read the full opinion here: