High Court supports EIA

In R (Swire) v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2020] EWHC 1298 (Admin), the High Court has quashed a planning permission and held that the Secretary of State unlawfully decided permission could be granted without an environmental impact assessment (EIA) first being undertaken.

The Court held that it was unlawful to assume that effective remediation works could be worked out in the course of the development. It was also held that there was a lack of expert evidence and risk assessment on the nature of any BSE-related contamination at the site, and that the measures which might be required to remediate any such contamination and hazards had not been identified.

It remains good law that proposals for mitigation or remediation measures can be taken into account when determining whether EIA is required. However, those mitigation and remediation measures need to be properly considered and parties must ensure that sufficient evidence is provided to support any conclusion that there will not be likely significant effects at the screening stage. If there is doubt as to whether a project will have likely significant effects in the EIA context, the precautionary principle should be applied. For the full report, see bit.ly/2UWY7az


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