When do neighbouring EIA developments constitute a single project?

When do neighbouring EIA developments constitute a single project?

Linked broken branchesIn Larkfleet v South Kesteven District Council, [2015] All ER (D) 51 (Aug), the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal relating to a grant of planning permission for the construction of a link road.

Although the road and housing development were linked, the two projects were "separate" for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) purposes.

 

Background

A competing developer, Larkfleet Ltd, sought to quash planning permission for a relief road to the south of Grantham that, as well as alleviating traffic impact, had the advantage of assisting the development of residential land, allocated in the local plan. Larkfleet argued that the relief road and the residential development were so interconnected that they were one project and should have been assessed together for the purposes of compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2011/92/EU (EIA Directive). Because they were not dealt with together as one project, the application for the relief road failed to adequately assess the environmental impact of the combined development.

Key Issue

Whether, for EIA purposes, two neighbouring and otherwise interrelated developments amounted to one single project or two separate projects.

Held

The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s dismissal of the claim for judicial review of the planning permission. It confirmed that

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About the author:

Jen is a solicitor specialising in planning law. She has experience in relation to a range of planning topics, including environmental impact assessment, section 106 agreements, highways orders, compulsory purchase, freedom of information issues, inquiries, judicial review, the Localism Act 2011, the National Planning Policy Framework and major infrastructure projects. After qualifying at Ashurst, Jen worked at Bevan Brittan and subsequently at CMS Cameron McKenna as an associate in the planning team. She worked as an external author for LexisPSL before joining the team in November 2010. She has written for a variety of legal publications, including the New Law Journal, Utilities Week, Planning Resource and The Lawyer. Jen regularly appears on Talking Law videocasts providing legal updates on planning law.