Order could cost couple hundreds of thousands

A Dunleer man and his wife have been ordered by the High Court to tear up and dispose of 1.6km of roadway which was made of waste material.

A Dunleer man and his wife have been ordered by the High Court to tear up and dispose of 1.6km of roadway which was made of waste material.

Sean Doyle, a director of Oxigen Environmental Ltd, and his wide Mary Doyle, both of Salterstown, Dunleer, Co Louth, had built the roadway in a Special Area of Conservation.

The road was built using waste material supplied by one of Oxigen’s facilities, built on land owned by the couple at Portree and Ballymanus, near Vicarstown, Portlaoise.

The orders were brought to the High Court by Laois County Council. They successfully argued the roadway was an unauthorised development built on part of the Nore-Barrow SAC and posed a risk to the environment.

The council sought orders under the 1996 Waste Management Act compelling the Doyles, to remove the material from the site, dispose of it at a suitable licensed facility and restore the habitats to their original state.

The Doyles had accepted the roadway was built without permission but argued that the best way to rectify the situation was to remove 400 metres of the road. Removing the rest of the road could cause more damage than leaving it there, they argued.

Mr Justice Hedigan ruled that the entire road should be removed. The material used to construct the road was non-inert and contained leachate and it was “hard to accept” that leaving all but 400 metres of the road was the safest option, he said.

The action was adjourned for two weeks when final orders will be made.

The courts, he said, had a duty to uphold Irish and European legislation in regards to the protection of the environment and in particular when it comes to areas of Special Conservation.

Previously the court heard that more than 6,500 tonnes of material, taken from an Oxigen facility in Dublin over a three to four-month period, was used to build a roadway for Mr Doyle.

The move could potentially costs the couple hundreds of thousands of euro.

Last year the Dundalk Democrat revealed how the company was in breach of a number of EPA guidelines including using waste material which was used in a similar manner, having been sold to a private vendor to build an avenue. The EPA informed Oxigen that as much as 822,760kg of waste had been dispatched to unauthorised locations at Dillonstown, Co Louth, and ordered them to cease doing so. Oxigen later confirmed that they had ceased transferring to the site in April of 2012.