Case law: When two developments constitute a single project

30th September 2015

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  • Management ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Built environment ,
  • Planning



Jen Hawkins of Lexis PSL considers whether two interrelated projects can be considered as a single project under the EIA regulations.

In Larkfleet v South Kesteven District Council, the Court of Appeal dismissed a case relating to planning permission for a road that had been split into two sets of works. The court held that, just because two sets of proposed works may have a cumulative effect on the environment, this does not make them a single project for the purposes of the EIA Directive. Rather, the directive contemplates that where there are two interrelated projects, cumulative effects will need to be assessed for each project. In this case, the relief road was subject to EIA and had considered the impact of the residential development.

Construction company Larkfleet sought to quash planning permission for a relief road to the south of Grantham that, as well as alleviating traffic impact, would assist the development of residential land by another contractor. Larkfleet argued that the relief road and the residential development were interconnected and should be regarded as one project for EIA. However, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's dismissal of the claim for judicial review. It confirmed that the decision of what amounted to a project for EIA purposes was for the planning authority to make. It agreed that the two developments, while connected, were sufficiently independent that they were not one project.

The court considered the principle established in Ecologistas en Acción-CODA v Ayuntamiento de Madrid: that a single project cannot be salami-sliced so that it falls below the EIA threshold. The court rejected the appellant's argument that this principle meant that two interrelated developments could not be assessed separately.


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