CASE UPDATE – Case against elevated highway within Thalangama Environmental Protection Area
CA Writ 97/2021

This was filed on 22nd February 2021 against the Respondents of Road Development Authority, Central Environmental Authority, Urban Development Authority,Secretary of Ministry of Environment and Hon. Attorney General.

Petitioners filed this case to prevent construction of an elevated highway within an Environmental Protection Area (EPA). Thalangama tank and its environs were declared as an EPA under the National Environmental Act No.47 of 1980 (NEA), as amended by Gazette Extraordinary No.1487/10 dated 05.03.2007. Road Development Authority (RDA), together with the Urban Development Authority (UDA), proposes the construction of a four lane elevated highway, which is 17.3 km in length, stretching from New Kelani Bridge (Orugodawatte) to Athurugiriya to improve the road network for the influx of vehicles into Colombo city limits.

This is not a permitted activity under the NEA and Gazette No. 1487/10. Furthermore, 3.15 km of this elevated highway of the Second Phase of the said project would traverse the Talangama/Awerihena Wetlands, gazetted as an EPA. No EIA has been prepared for the Second Phase, yet.

This highway will also pave the way for noise pollution and emissions which shall have a detrimental effect on the environment, hydrology and invaluable biodiversity of the wetland, as also on the air quality and health of thousands of inhabitants living on either sides of the Thalangama/Averihena EPA as at present and generations to come. 

Petitioners seeks from the Petition to issue a Writ of Prohibition refraining the Respondents from granting approval to construct the said elevated highway over the Thalangama Environmental Protection Area and from constructing the said elevated highway over the Thalangama Environmental Protection Area and to issue an interim order to maintain the status quo of the Thalangama EPA suspend the road construction activities until the final determination of this application. This case was mentioned on 03rd March 2021 and the court directed the petitioners to issue the Notices on the respondents. The next date of this case is on 24th March 2021. [END]

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