Echelon Data Centres: Echelon's legal challenge over South Dublin data center ban

Aug 19, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Echelon Data Centres has reportedly filed a legal challenge with the High Court against South Dublin County Council’s decision to ban new facilities in its function area during the lifetime of its 2022 to 2028 development. This legal action follows the motion tabled by the council’s People Before Profit members, where it voted to ban data centres and designate them as being “not permitted under any zoning on the grounds” due to there being no capacity for further facilities in the South Dublin area.

The claim has been launched by Echelon DC Holdings Limited and is being represented by Neil Steen SC Echelon, who claims the ban “contravenes national and regional policy on data centres,” and was “unreasonable, irrational, and breach various constitutional rights.” The Office of the Planning Regulator also reportedly supports this claim and has outlined that the ban should not be contained in the development plan due to it being “inconsistent” with Regional Policy Objectives and Spatial and Economic Strategies for the Midlands and East Regions.

Echelon, specifically, is seeking an order that would defeat the council’s June 22nd decision to designate data centres as being “not permitted” under zoning objectives in its development plan, as well as an order directing the council to class data centres as being “open for consideration” under the various zoning objectives contained in the development plan. 

The case has been adjourned until November to wait for the government's planning minister to make his decision regarding the reversal of the plan. If the minister decides to reverse the decision, this could render the action moot.