Case law >> EIA screening and mitigation measures
- Local government ,
- Construction ,
LexisPSL's Jen Hawkins and George Hobson on a High Court ruling that confirms EIA screenings can consider mitigation
In TWS v Manchester City Council  All ER (D) 203, an application for judicial review of the authority’s decision to grant planning permission for a football stadium was dismissed.
The High Court agreed with the authority’s conclusion that an environment impact assessment (EIA) was not required, and that the council was entitled to consider mitigation measures when assessing the significant impacts of the proposed development.
The court upheld the decision by the council to grant planning permission, saying the authority’s screening opinion was not, as the claimant alleged, “irrational”. According to the judgment, the council had: directed itself on the applicable statutory requirements; took into account government guidance; and applied the relevant criteria.
Judge Lindblom ruled that it was up to the court to intervene where an authority has acted “irrationally”, but not to quash a decision just because someone might disagree with it.
The effect on the environment had to be “significant” for an EIA to be required, but significance was not a “hard-edged concept” – the assessment of what was significant involved the exercise of judgment.
The screening opinion was also lawful on the basis that it depended on possible future mitigation.
While an authority cannot conclude that a development is unlikely to have significant effects on the environment simply because all such effects were likely to be eliminated by mitigation, it can take into account remedial measures contemplated by conditions and/or undertakings when completing an EIA screening opinion.
In June 2021, the UK’s governing Conservative Party lost a by-election in Chesham and Amersham, a seat it had held for 47 years. The principal reasons reported as the cause of this defeat were proposed planning reforms and the promotion of housebuilding on greenfield sites across the south of England.
As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the EIA Quality Mark, IEMA can announce that, during the past 12 months, the scheme has undergone a thorough review of practice, including stakeholder consultation with registrants and assessors, in order to improve it.
The delivery of effective outcomes for the environment, communities and development is a team effort, and more so when it comes to consenting projects that undergo Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).