Appeal against planning inspector dismissed
Gladman Developments Ltd appealed against a decision upholding the refusal for planning permission for developments in air quality management areas. The planning inspector had concluded that the proposals were likely to have an adverse affect on air quality.
The High Court upheld that decision, referring to case law which required the government to achieve compliance with the Air Quality Directive 2008 by the soonest date possible. At appeal the main questions included: the inspector’s understanding of relevant case law and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), whether he had failed to deal properly with proposed mitigation, and whether he failed to explain how the developer’s mitigation departed from the air quality action plans.
The judge confirmed that the inspector had properly engaged with previous case law, and had referred to the emphasis on the urgency of meeting limit values for air pollutants, which made it clear he understood the need to achieve compliance by the earliest possible date. However, he was not required to assume that local air quality would improve by any particular amount within any particular time frame. He had drawn reasonable and lawful conclusion on the future air quality baseline. He also had not failed to apply the NPPF whereby the planning system assumed other schemes of regulatory control would operate effectively.
Secondly, the inspector had been entitled to conclude that the developer’s financial contribution to mitigation was unlikely to be effective and had explained that the contributions had not shown to translate into actual measures likely to reduce the use of private petrol and diesel vehicles. The inspector did not have to accept that because an appropriate method had been used in calculating the level of financial contributions, the mitigation measures would be effective. Finally, when the decision letter was read as a whole, the inspector’s reasons were sufficient and lawful.
The appeal was dismissed.
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