Full house for 39 Essex Chambers in Court of Appeal flood risk decision

Full house for 39 Essex Chambers in Court of Appeal flood risk decision

CategoryNews Author Peter Village KC, James Strachan KC, Christiaan Zwart Date

Members of 39 Essex Chambers appeared on both sides in the Court of Appeal in R (Manchester Ship Canal Company and another) v. Environment Agency [2013] EWCA Civ 542 in which judgment has just been given. Gordon Nardell QC led Christiaan Zwart for the Environment Agency while Peter Village QC appeared with new silk James Strachan QC for the Canal Company and developer Peel Holdings. The Court of Appeal dismissed the Agency’s appeal against the judgment of Lang J quashing its decision to treat five sets of sluice gates on the Manchester Ship Canal as “formal” flood defences, which were then assumed to fail for the purpose of mapping Flood Zones 2 and 3 under former PPS25 (see previous news article). That led to much of Peel’s adjoining development land falling within Zone 3. The Court of Appeal considered the Agency’s policies on flood mapping, which provided for a structure to be treated as a “formal” defence if flood defence was its “primary” function. The court held that the Agency was entitled to find that the sluices had equally prominent (and conflicting) navigational and flood defence functions, but then neither could be considered their “primary” function. The Agency had in effect created a new category for which its policies made no provision. It had therefore departed from its policies. The judgment can be found here.

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