A6 Judicial Review
Due to a bereavement the A6 Lough Beg - Heaney Country Judicial Review case has been re-listed for 10:30 on Tuesday 15 August in the Court of Appeal, Chichester St, Belfast. This case is important for nature conservation in Northern Ireland where some of Europe's most important bird areas (IBA) have been under siege for decades. The case aims to ensure that EU Nature Laws which came into force 25 years ago are properly applied and enforced. The legal challenge was launched when the Dept. for Infrastructure announced on 17 August 2016 that construction was due to begin on a controversial off-line dual carriageway that would sever the grazing meadows of the largest population of Whooper Swans in Ireland (WWT, RSPB et al) from the principal swan roost in the Lough Neagh basin. It is held this will cause irreparable harm to the integrity of the SPA, particularly Lough Beg, where RSPB recently acquired a new reserve. Under the terms of the Birds and Habitats Directives EU Member States have an obligation to protect wetlands, particularly wetlands of international importance such as Lough Beg and Strangford Lough, another IBA threatened with unsustainable development. Conservationists need to be vigilant in making full use of these Directives and resist the temptation to settle for an offer of mitigation, or compensation, or neither. There is a public gallery in the court room and any support would be welcome.