Northern Ireland

A5 road project: Court challenge is adjourned

A5 road
Image caption No work can be done on the scheme until after the court case

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

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

Last week, a judge said the department had not carried out a proper Habitats Directive assessment.

But the case was adjourned on Wednesday as a DRD barrister was unavailable.

The judge had previously said he was minded to quash the decision to proceed with the project because, he said, the department had failed to carry out an appropriate assessment of the rivers Foyle and Finn special areas of conservation under the Habitats Directive.

However, he gave the DRD until Wednesday to make further submissions on the matter.

He had rejected all the other grounds of appeal from those objecting to the project.

On Wednesday, 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.

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