Project splitting in the Court of Appeal

Project splitting in the Court of Appeal

CategoryNews Author Ned Helme Date

Justine Thornton and Ned Helme appeared in the Court of Appeal in the case of R (Burridge) v Breckland DC [2013] EWCA Civ 228 which considers the issue of ‘project splitting’ in the Environmental Impact Assessment Regime. Splitting projects thereby avoiding EIA requirements is prohibited by the EIA Directive. This has presented problems for the domestic EIA regime because the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 focus on particular planning applications as opposed to the broader concept of the ‘project’. The Court of Appeal  has now confirmed that the domestic Regulations must be construed in light of the purpose of the Directive’s focus on projects and this could require several planning applications to be screened together. Having found that the planning permissions in question had been granted in breach of the Regulations, the Court was divided on how it should exercise its discretion. Pill LJ held that the permissions should be quashed but Davis LJ and Warren J declined to quash them, given the unusual circumstances of the case. The Appellant is seeking permission to appeal from the Supreme Court as to the principles on which the judiciary should exercise their discretion in EIA cases.

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