Appeal dismissed against environmental permit decision
- Pollution & Waste Management ,
A local action group appealed to the Crown Court after its claim for judicial review was dismissed when it challenged the validity of an environmental permit granted by the Environment Agency.
The permit had been granted for the operation of a waste incineration plant, but there was a scientific error in the application submitted by the operator. The appellant challenged the lawfulness of the permit as a result of the error. The appeal was dismissed, as the judge ruled that the error did not affect the lawfulness of the Agency's decision.
The judge considered four key issues – firstly, whether the permit incorporated the error. Including an incorrect statement in an application document was not evidence of the same error being made by the Agency in making its decision. Secondly, the appellant argued that the judge had relied on the Agency's retrospective explanation after the fact. As a regulator, the Agency used its own scientific and technical expertise to inform its decisions, and there was no failure of its expertise in this case.
Thirdly, they considered whether the judge had failed to investigate the need for a dust management plan. It was ruled that it was not for the court to ask why a plan was required. The final ground of appeal was based on the margin of appreciation. The judge ruled that the Agency had lawfully exercised its judgement and that the judge did not have to rely on establishing an enhanced margin of error for such regulators.
There was no evidence that the Agency itself made a mistake or was influenced by the mistake, or had failed to exercise its knowledge and expertise. The appeal was dismissed, as it was not for the court to explore the scientific integrity of the Agency's assessment.
Picture credit: Shutterstock
The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted Southern Water for thousands of illegal raw sewage discharges that polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, resulting in a record £90m fine.
In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
Global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, despite the carbon intensity of production declining. That is according to a new report from the UN food agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which forecasts that 80% of the increase will come from livestock.
Half of consumers worldwide now consider the sustainability of food and drink itself, not just its packaging, when buying, a survey of 14,000 shoppers across 18 countries has discovered. This suggests that their understanding of sustainability is evolving to include wellbeing and nutrition, with sustainable packaging now considered standard.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.