Planning policy judicial review rejected

19th July 2017

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A claim for a judicial review into the government's policy for nationally significant hazardous waste infrastructure has been dismissed in the case of R. (on the application of Scarisbrick) vs the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The secretary of state granted development consent for a hazardous waste landfill facility in May 2015, on a site that was capable of receiving 150,000 tonnes per year.

Although the site was on green-belt land and the development consent order would allow the compulsory purchase of land, a decision was taken, in line with government policy, that the need for the facility outweighed the harm to the green belt.

The claimant was granted a judicial review into this case, on the grounds that the secretary of state may have misapplied and misconstrued the national policy statement for hazardous waste (NPS), which requires applications to be assessed “on the basis that need has been demonstrated”.

One of the arguments was that such a facility may be needed, but not on the scale that was granted, therefore the facility should not have been granted consent.

However, the court considered that the policy in question was a general policy; the existence of the need for the facility did not therefore depend on scale, capacity or location, or on the history of the current landfill site.

Taking all of the factors of the case into consideration, Lord Justice Lindblom concluded that the secretary of state “neither misinterpreted nor misapplied any policy of the NPS in making the development consent order” and the claim for judicial review was dismissed.

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