In your Editorial (January 29th) you suggest that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) with public participation should be conducted on the Midlands Wind Power Project.
The completion of an SEA is not an elective requirement to be invoked only when opposition needs to be addressed. The terms of the Aarhus Convention require that an SEA with public participation of the entire renewable energy plan should have been carried out before the member states adopted into law the “20 per cent by 2020 Directive” and their National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP).
Last year the United Nations Commission for Europe’s Aarhus Compliance Committee ruled that by imposing the directive on member states, and specifically because an SEA with public participation had not been carried out in Ireland when all options were open, the EU and Ireland were in breach of the convention.
Consequently aid provided by the EU for the construction of the UK inter-connector and subsidies granted by the Irish Government to wind power suppliers under the Renewable Energy Feed In Tarriff (REFIT) may be illegal and a petition for a judicial review is scheduled for hearing by the High Court in March.
Should the review confirm that the breach of the Convention invalidates the legality of the directive and NREAP, Irish citizens may be entitled to make claims for damages resulting from the directive, NREAP and REFIT. – Yours, etc,
DAVID WHITEHEAD, Geologist; CHRISTIAN SCHAFFILITSKI, Geologist; PAT O’BRIEN, Environmental Consultant STEPHEN JOHNSON, C/o Glebe, Kinvara, Co Galway.
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