Two environmental protection groups have launched a High Court challenge aimed at overturning the Minister for Housing's direction that measures to mitigate noise levels generated by aircraft at Dublin airport be removed from Fingal Co Council's development plan.
The action has been brought by the Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) and SMTW Environmental DAC, which is a body set up to represent residents of St Margarets and the Ward in North County Dublin in legal, environmental and planning matters such as noise generated by Dublin Airport.
The action centres on Fingal Co Councillors' decision to include a reference in the development plan to the effect that measures should be taken to ensure that noise levels produced by aircraft during nighttime are reduced and are in keeping with certain defined standards.
The proposed reference also said that certain noise insulation schemes in areas in proximity to the airport should be expanded due to the adverse effects associated with aircraft noise such as increased mortality, stress, high blood pressure and a deterioration in cardiovascular health.
It is claimed that the Minister removed the reference on grounds including that it is inconsistent with the National Planning Framework, which guides strategic planning and development for the country over the coming decades.
The Minister's direction was made in June after concerns were expressed by the Office of the Planning Regulator which review the organisation, systems and procedures applied by planning authorities in their performance of their planning functions
In their action the groups claim that the Minister's direction to remove the reference is invalid, contains material errors, is wrong in law, is irrational and is unreasonable.
The Ministerial direction is further invalidated, the groups also argue, because the proposed plan adopted by the Council was consistent with EU regulations and National Policy objectives regarding aircraft noise.
The Minister, it is also claimed, failed to provide adequate reasons for making the direction, and has breached the two group's rights to fair procedures
In their judicial review action against the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Ireland and the Attorney General, the groups represented by John Kenny Bl instructed by solicitor Fred Logue seek various orders and declarations.
These include an order quashing the direction contained in part of Fingal Co Council's development plan for 2023-28 and a declaration that the Ministerial direction is invalid and is unconstitutional.
The Office of the Planning Regulator, Fingal Co Council and the Dublin Airport Authority Public Limited Company are notice parties to the proceedings.
The matter was briefly mentioned, on an ex-parte basis, before Mr Justice Micheal O'Higgins during Wednesday's vacation sitting of the High Court.
The judge, after deeming the matter formally opened, adjourned the action to a date in October.