Case law >> EIA screening and mitigation measures

11th March 2013

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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 [2013] 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.


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