Eco Advocacy was founded in 2015. It was considered essential to fill a void in advocating on issues of Planning and Environmental law in the Irish context.
Client Earth was founded for similar reasons in the UK in c.2008 and operates from London.
Resources are always a limiting factor, but we endeavour to to conduct the necessary research to facilitate prosecution of environmental transgressions and also for comment on planning policies and proposals. This will typically include planning searches, land registry searches, photography and ordinance survey, to allude to but some of this. We can organise specialist reports to inform comment and the basis for a grounding affidavit in litigation cases. Furthermore, we have significant expertise in making submissions to the statutory authorities on planning and policy issues. We are au fait with the functioning of local government and other statutory agencies.
We are firm proponents of sustainable development and have extensive knowledge and expertise in all aspects of environmental law and best practice. We are hugely experienced on diverse environmental issues ranging from large scale quarry proposals to telecommunication's masts, large scale agricultural facilities, housing developments, peat bogs, wind farms, and so on. We are most concerned with the lethargic attitude to enforcement of existing laws, licences and planning consents and continue to encourage and assist the statutory authority in this regard.
In Ireland, the coming into force of the 1963 planning act mandated that all developments in Ireland requires planning permission from that date forwards. The local authorities are the primary agencies in the determination of planning applications' except if specific developments are deemed to be a strategic infrastructure, in which case they are dealt with by An Bord Pleanála (The Planning Appeals Board in Ireland) who also deal with planning appeals.
In England, the passing of the Town and Country planning act of 1947 imposed the requirement to obtain planning permission and nationalised the right to develop land in response to a growing concern of urban sprawl and following the Barrow Commission of 1940 and the Scott Committee into rural land use of 1941. The planning system in England was consolidated in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
We have forged alliances with many specialists within the wider planning/ environmental community, including Hydrogeologists, Land surveyors, Archaeologists, Ecologists, and also with other NGO's. We endeavour to provide support for planning and environmental issues, which frequently arise as a consequence of unauthorised development or the unforeseen results of poorly planned developments.
The remediation solution will usually require the coordination and collaboration of a number of specialists in various fields.
We endeavour to provide support for planning and environmental defence on a diverse range of issues many of which are contentious owing to vested interests.
The extractive industry has been particularly divisive in Ireland during the period from 1998 to present, giving rise to unimplemented reinstatement programs.
We also advise on issues of policy reform and lobby for change in areas where lacunas in the law exist. Regrettably, Ireland has had a poor record in keeping pace with important international environmental developments and has been the subject of a number of adverse judgments from the European Court of Justice for failure to implement European law e.g. C215-08 and C50-09. Ireland’s delay in ratifying the Aarahus Convention, to which it committed to in 1998, and only implemented in 2012, is but one example.
Kieran Cummins, Secretary.
Kieran is a qualified solicitor in two jurisdictions; namely in Ireland and in England / Wales (though he currently doesn't actually practice as a solicitor and acts purely as a consultant). He holds a BSc in Management and Law, a Diploma in Legal Studies and a Diploma in Horticulture.
Kieran sits on the following committees: -
Photography: Kieran is also an experienced photographer, and employs that skill to great effect to professionally illustrate issues for high court proceedings and the various submissions which he prepares. You can view some of his photography, on http://www.kierancummins.eu
Mediator: Kieran is an accredited mediator.
Landscape Design: In his earlier career, Kieran worked as head gardener/ supervisor with Dublin County Councils Parks Department. He has significant experience in the area of landscaping together with remediation plans and has worked on some very challenging sites. Possessing such unique experience and expertise has proven to be very valuable when assessing EIA's and other planning proposals.
Music: Kieran is also a musician and multi-instrumentalist, playing Harp, Violin, Piano Accordion and Guitar with vocals. He is the current treasurer of Cairde na Cruite (Friends of the Irish Harp); an national association established in 1957 to promote the Harp (our national instrument and emblem).