Case law >> No obligation to consult Natural England on site
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Jen Hawkins from LexisPSL on an unsuccessful challenge to a planning permission granted by Mansfield District Council.
In Savage v Mansfield District Council , the Court of Appeal had to decide whether the local authority’s failure to carry out a risk-based assessment on the advice of Natural England (NE) meant that it had not complied with its legal duty under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.
In this case, an application for outline planning permission was submitted for a large mixed-use development in Sherwood Forest, close to substantial breeding populations of nightjar and woodlark and a site of special scientific interest. The authority consulted NE, which advised that the area was not a proposed special protection area (SPA) for the purposes of the Regulations or the national planning policy framework. However, there was a possibility that part of the forest would in due course be recommended as a SPA, so it advised the council to consider the implications of a future classification.
The authority granted outline planning permission and the developer entered into a s106 agreement that contained a provision protecting the council from compensation claims in the event that permission was modified or revoked in accordance with the Habitat Regulations. The claimant challenged the authority’s decision on the basis that it had not followed NE’s advice to conduct a risk-based assessment and so had failed to comply with its legal duty.
The court rejected the allegation that the authority had failed to act on NE’s advice, saying it had collected relevant data and put forward proposals to mitigate any harmful effects on the nightjar and woodlark populations, including supplying a ranger service to monitor the site.
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