The North’s DRD given more time to prepare A5 submissions

The Department for Regional Development  has been given more time to make submissions in a legal case over the A5 dual carriageway.

Last week, a judge said the department had not carried out a proper Habitats Directive assessment. The case was due to heard today but the case was adjourned as a DRD barrister was unavailable.

A group of farmers and landowners is challenging the redevelopment of the A5 between Derry and Aughnacloy, County Tyrone.

Last week Mr Justice Stephens said he was minded to quash the decision to proceed with the A5 project because the department had failed to carry out an appropriate assessment of the rivers Foyle and Finn special areas of conservation under the Habitats Directive.

In the wake of that ruling, the Norths Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy said that his department will now prepare the necessary submissions in relation to the Habitats Directive.

Mr Justice Stephens gave the the Department for Regional Development until today to make further submissions on the matter.

This morning, a DRD lawyer conceded that if the judge found that there had not been an appropriate assessment carried out then a decision to proceed with the project had to be quashed.

However, the judge ordered that all work cease until the matter is resolved. The DRD was also ordered to pay the adjournment hearing costs. Another hearing will take place on 12 April.