Case law >> Planning applications within a 'single project'
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Jen Hawkings, from Lexis PSL, on the Court of Appeals decision not to quash planning permission in the Burridge case, despite agreeing that two applications should have been treated as a single project
In Burridge v Breckland District Council and Greenshoots Energy Ltd  All ER (D) 138, the Court of Appeal (CA) held that two separate planning applications for two parts of a single project should have been treated as a single application for the purposes of determining whether a screening opinion was required.
Under the Town and Country Planning Regulations, a screening opinion is required where an application exceeds the thresholds set out in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive.
In Burridge, a planning application was submitted for a biomass renewable energy plant and a combined heat and power (CHP) plant – the first application. The screening opinion concluded that an EIA was not required.
The application was subsequently amended to omit the CHP plant and relocate it nearby. A further planning application was lodged in respect of the relocated CHP plant – the second application. The planning authority granted planning permission for both the first and the second applications on the same day.
The CA held that the planning authority was wrong to consider each application individually when considering them together as a single application would have resulted in the relevant thresholds to trigger a screening opinion being exceeded.
The court ruled that the applications were interdependent and should have been regarded as part of the same substantial development. Despite this conclusion, the CA declined to quash the planning permission on the basis that a further screening opinion would not have produced a different outcome on whether an EIA was required.
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).