March 2021

Publication of the PAC Interim Report and the Interim Departmental Statement

Publication of the PAC Interim Report and the Interim Departmental Statement (March 2021)

The Project Team has reviewed the issues raised and recommendations made in the Planning Appeals Commission’s (PAC) Interim report on the proceedings of the public inquiry into the A5 Western Transport Corridor scheme and has taken legal advice. 

Having given careful consideration to all of the advice given, the Minister, Nichola Mallon MLA, has announced publication of the PAC Interim report together with the Department’s response to the recommendations made by the PAC in the form of an Interim Departmental Statement.

The PAC Commissioner’s key recommendation has been accepted, regarding the preparation of and consultation on further documents on the topics of flood risk and the consideration of alternatives to the proposed scheme.

The Minister has accordingly directed the Project Team to prepare a further addendum to the Environmental Statement for consultation later this year.  

Further consultation will also be undertaken under the Habitats Regulations on a number of Reports of Information to Inform an Appropriate Assessment relating to the likely impacts of the A5 scheme upon Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Ramsar sites. 

It is anticipated this approach will lead to the re-opening of the public inquiry, as recommended by the PAC,  early next year and will enable the PAC to consider further public representations and prepare its final report. This, in turn, will allow a Ministerial decision on the next steps for the scheme.

A copy of the reports and associated Press Notice issued 16th March 2021, can be found below.

Please note that there has been a correction to Page 21 of the Interim Departmental Statement, amended version was uploaded on 20th April 2021