Housing development appeal dismissed

A local resident appealed against a decision that a proposed housing development was not an EIA development.

In 2008, a developer applied for planning permission for 150 homes on Site A, a recreation ground previously used as a brickworks quarry. The local authority granted permission, but this was quashed by consent. In 2016 the appellant requested an EIA screening direction.

The Secretary of State directed it was not an EIA development as it was not likely to have significant environmental effects, and that an environmental statement was not required. This reflected the authority’s earlier opinion. 

The appellant sought judicial review of the screening direction, but the judge concluded there was evidential basis for stating there was no likely significant environmental effect. There was nothing unusual about the development, and the screening direction had adopted the approach required. Both the Secretary and local authority concluded that traffic from the development would have an effect on local Air Quality Management Areas, but that it was not likely to be significant.

Five other local potential development sites had been considered, and consented housing developments on other sites were also considered by the Secretary in the screening analysis for cumulative impact. The respondents took all relevant considerations into account when reaching their conclusions.

There was no suggestion in the screening direction that the air pollution was treated differently because it would be in an urban environment. The screening direction made it clear the urban environment was part of the context, and a relevant factor when considering significance. The judge ruled that the development was not likely to have a significant environmental effect, so an EIA was not required.

The appeal was dismissed.


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