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Articles Planning 4th Aug 2020

Planning Law Update – July 2020

The Prime Minister’s announcement on 30th June 2020 set out the government’s intention to shake up the planning system. Freeths reported on these dramatic new changes earlier this month, to read our article please click here.

Moving away from the governments proposed changes there has once again been very little planning legislation passed.  Interesting case law decisions provide that drainage-related works constituted development and the implementation of the planning permission; and further an appeal case concluded that aesthetic considerations can be a valid basis for refusing consent to development proposals. In Community Infrastructure Levy appeal decisions personal circumstances will not be taken into account regarding CIL surcharges.

Legislation, Case law or PolicySummary
Environment Bill 2019-2021 postponed until after summer recess.Due to Brexit transition period and the COVID-19 pandemic there has been disruption in the Parliamentary timetable. The Secretary of State for DEFRA indicated during an Environmental Audit Committee that the Environment Bill 2019 – 2021 was unlikely to return until after the summer recess.

The Bill still has to go through the following phases:

• the Public Bill Committee of the House of Commons;
• a third reading in the House of Commons
• House of Lords for further scrutiny.
Barlow v Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council [2020] EWCA Civ 696 - Court of Appeal held that a path had become a highway under presumed dedication at common law before 1949. The claimant fell over an exposed tree root on a path (the “Path”) in Abram park and brought a claim for compensation from Wigan Metropolitan Borough

The claim was dismissed at first instance, but the claimant succeeded on the first appeal, which the Council then appealed against. At the Court of Appeal case, it was under consideration as to whether the Path was a highway or a highway maintainable at public expense?

The distinction between the two was key, if the Path was just a highway and not maintainable at the public expense then the Council would be able to rely on the decision in the case of McGeown v Northern Ireland Housing Executive [1995] which provides that:

• There is no liability for negligent nonfeasance (liability for no action taken, such as a tree route protruding out of the path) towards members of the public using it.
• Liability would be limited to acts of positive misfeasance (liability for a positive wrong action, such as a hole being dug into the path) and nothing else

Therefore, in consideration of section 36(2)(a) of the Highways Act 1980 (“HA”), which provides that a highway which is maintainable at public expense can include a “highway constructed by a highway authority, unless constructed on behalf of another person who is not a highway authority”.

The court held that the claimant could not succeed under section 36(2)(a) of the HA 1980 because, when Abram UDC constructed the path, it was not acting in its capacity as highway authority, and further section 36(2) is not retrospective and thus had no application to the construction of the Path in 1932.

However, the court held that as the Path was constructed before 1949, it was repairable by the inhabitants at large under section 47(1) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Consequently, the Path automatically became highway maintainable at public expense following the enactment of the Highways Act 1959, which under section 38(1) states “a highway which immediately before the commencement of this Act was maintainable the inhabitants at large of any area” and this status was subsequently retained following the enactment of the 1980 Act. Therefore a claim for breach of statutory duty under section 41 of the HA 1980 could be made, which is a duty to keep in repair.

Local authorities, which are also highway authorities, will take keen interest in this case as it highlights that it can be complicated in determining whether the highway authority is under a duty to maintain and repair a highway under section 41 of the HA 1980.

To read the decision click here
R (Swire) v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2020] EWHC 1298 (Admin) – A High Court decision of a judicial review concerning whether an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was required.An application for judicial review was granted by the High Court, and the Secretary of State’s decision was quashed as unlawful. The Secretary of State had unlawfully decided that an EIA was not required for the proposed development at the site, as it was not development within the meaning of the Town and Country Planning (Environment Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.

The site was one of four in the UK, licensed in 1998, by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to dispose of cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as BSE. The site had been disused for more than 10 years.

Even though the developer and the owner of the Site confirmed that: “a comprehensive remediation scheme will have to be implemented to decontaminate/clean up the site”, and that further contamination survey works were required at the site in order to inform the remediation scheme.

The Secretary of State’s decision in the case: “a screening authority must have sufficient evidence of the potential adverse environmental impacts and the availability, and effectiveness of the proposed remedial measures in order to make an informed judgment that the development would not be likely to have significant effects on the environment, and that therefore no EIA was required.”

In making the decision, the Secretary of State had unlawfully reasoned that the proposed development was unlikely to have significant effects on the environment and erred in assuming that the required mitigation measures could take place with an appropriately worded condition attached to the Planning Permission.

The High Court concluded that the Secretary of State’s decision that an EIA was not required was made in error and was therefore material, it was not merely a technical nor procedural error, and as such it should be squashed.

To read the decision click here.
The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) updates its list regarding the progression of local plans in EnglandPINS has updated its list of how England’s local planning authorities are progressing with their local plans. The monitoring of these local plans are separated into strategic and non-strategic policies.

PINS will also be providing a report setting out the plans that are to be expected to be submitted for examination within the next six months.

To read more click here.
Department for Transport’s second road investment strategy has been challenged on climate grounds The Transport Action Network (TAN) issued proceedings against the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision on 4 June 2020, in respect of the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2).

The four grounds of the judicial review challenge are that the Secretary of State:

• Has failed to take account of the impact of RIS2 on the UK’s climate change objectives, specifically the carbon budgets, which is a breach of duty set out in section 3(5)(a) of the Infrastructure Act 2015 ( to have regard to RIS2 and its effects on the environment);
• Failed to take account of regulation 17 of the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 to ensure that the best air quality is maintained;
• Failed to carry out a strategic environmental assessment (SEA), as required under the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004; and
• Has breached TAN’s legitimate expectations that a user metric would be established which measures road users greenhouse gas emissions arising from the strategic road network.

To read their full Statement of Facts and Grounds click here.
PINS Appeal: APP/N1920/X/19/3224200 – do drainage-related works constitute development and the implementation of the planning permissionThis appeal concerned whether the drainage-related works that were carried out amounted to a material commencement of a planning permission. Planning permission for the erection of a 4-bed house was granted in 2015.

On 9 May 2018, Hertsmere Borough Council (HBC) refused an application for a Certificate of Lawful Development on the grounds that the planning permission had expired.

If a development is not started within a specified time-frame, the permission expires and a new planning permission is required. In order to implement a planning permission a developer or landowner must:
• Ensure that all pre-commencement planning conditions have been complied with; and
• Carry out a material operation, as set out in section 56(4) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

A material operation can include:

• The digging of a trench which is to contain the foundations, or part of the foundations, of a building (section 56(4)(b)).
• The laying of any underground main or pipe to the foundations, or part of the foundations, of a building or to any such trench as is mentioned in section 56(4)(b) (section 56(4)(c)).

On 26 January 2018, a site inspection was carried out to check that underground drainage had been correctly laid, and the appellant submitted a site inspection record to corroborate that fact, reference was made to a drawing, which showed the line of the pipe, and a photograph of the works carried out.

Although no foundations had been laid this was similar to the case of Spackman v Secretary of State and Thamesdown Borough Council [1977] which was held that the laying of drainage pipes was a ‘specified operation’ even though the foundations’ trenches did not exist; very little is needed to ‘initiate development’ under s56(1). Under s56(2) which provides that ‘development shall be taken to be begun on the earliest date on which any material operation comprised in the development begins to be carried out’.

The Court of Appeal took into consideration the tests that had been established in case law concerning commencement of development:

• Quantum – in Malvern Hills DC v SSE (1983) it is not the “quantum” of the work that was undertaken, but whether the work was related to the planning permission involved; and
• De minimis – in Connaught Quarries Ltd v SSETR & East Hants DC [2001] - that the beginning of a material operation under section 56(2) and (4), for the purposes of keeping a permission alive had to be more than de minimis.

The court concluded that as to the matter of fact and degree, the drainage related works that were carried out were more than de minimis, and were material, and as such they were comprised within the 2015 planning permission. On the evidence available, the Council’s refusal to grant a LDC in respect of the erection of a 4-bed house in accordance with the 2015 permission was not well founded and the appeal should succeed.

To read the decision click here.
R (Miles) v Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council [2020] EWHC 1608 (Admin) (23 June 2020) – appeal cost risks can be taken into consideration when planning applications are determinedIn this case, the High Court has once again reconfirmed that planning officers can advise councillors, when making their decision as to whether permission should be granted on a planning application, that appeal costs to refused planning permissions may be awarded against the Council.

However, it must be remembered that it is illegitimate if the decision-maker allows the risk associated with defending an adverse decision to be influential when exercising their planning judgment on an application.

To read the decision notice click here.
89 Holland Park Management Ltd v Hicks [2020] EWCA Civ 758 – aesthetic considerations can be a valid basis for refusing consent to development proposals In this Court of Appeal case Holland Park (Management) Ltd (HPML) was the freehold owner of 89 Holland Park (Property), which was a large Victorian building divided into five flats, and the flats were held under a long lease.

In 1965, a plot of land at the Property’s rear was sold off and when doing so restrictive covenants were imposed on the land for the Property’s benefit. These restrictive covenants required the Property owner’s consent to development proposals.

In 2016, the current owner of the Site sought consent to development proposals.

The Court of Appeal held that HPML:

• Was entitled to take account of the interests of the leaseholders at the Property as well as its own interests as reversioner.
• Could raise valid objections on aesthetical grounds (subject to the objections being tested for reasonableness).

A wide and hands-on approach was used in this case in order to come to a decision on the beneficiaries of a restrictive covenant. This provides clarification that aesthetic considerations can, in principle and subject to being reasonable, be potentially valid reasons for refusing consent to development proposals.

A reminder to developers and landowners to examine the title for restrictive covenants which could potentially affect the development proposal consent.

To read the decision click here.
QM Developments (UK) Ltd v Warrington Borough Council [2020] EWHC 1511 – no exceptional circumstances could justify application for judicial reviewMr Justice Dove in the High Court declined to hear a judicial review application regarding the incorporation of an informative into a certificate of lawfulness of existing use or development (CLEUD)issued by Warrington Borough Council in relation to the development.

He concluded that as the claimant could still seek an alternative remedy by taking the matter to appeal, there were no exceptional circumstances which would justify the court considering the application for judicial review.

To read the decision click here.
PINS: Appeal decision: APP/V2255/X/19/3241797 – whether land is a curtilage is a question of fact and degreeAn appeal case concerning Swale Borough Council’s refusal of an application for a lawful development certificate for the erection of a single storey building for use as garages, home workshop, home office and games room/summerhouse (“the Outbuilding”) within the dwellinghouse grounds.

The only issue before the Inspector was whether the site for the Outbuilding fell within the dwellinghouse’s curtilage and could therefore be granted permitted development rights as set out under Article 3(1) and Class E(a) of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(England) Order 2015 (GPDO 2015).

The inspector stated that land comprising a curtilage was a question of fact and degree and should be considered on a case-by-case basis, it was primarily a matter for the decision-maker. The inspector concluded that he was not satisfied that the proposed outbuilding was on land comprising the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.

The appeal was dismissed

To read the decision click here.
PINS: Appeal decision: APP/X1118/D/20/3244791 – overlooking and noise were key factors in refusal of a retrospective planning permissionAn appeal against North Devon District Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a retrospective skateboard ramp in the back garden of a dwelling.

The appeal focussed on the effect of the proposal on the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers, with particular regard to noise and overlooking.

The dwelling in question was surrounded by others, with the skateboard ramp situated in the rear garden . The platforms at both ends of the ramps wereapproximately 0.5 metres lower than the top of the rear garden fence.

The height of the platforms were taken into consideration by the inspector, and users were able to gain a full and uninterrupted view of the garden which backed onto the rear boundary.

The inspector accepted that the use of a domestic garden(with children playing in it) was likely to result in noise of varying degree, depending on the activity being undertaken. However, the inspector considered that typical garden games would not result in a persistent noise for the duration of its use, with the roll of the wheels along the surface of the bowls, and “thuds” as the users land and manoeuvre on the platforms (in addition to the typical laughter, shrieks and conversational noise that would be otherwise expected with any of the aforementioned activities).

The effect of development needed to be considered not only to how the property is related to the current occupier, but on any prospective future occupiers.

Consequently, the inspector concluded that the development was harmful to the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers in terms of overlooking and noise.

The appeal was dismissed.

To read the case decision click here.
PINS: Appeal decision: APP/C3620/X/19/3234236 - Unlawful dwelling did not benefit from permitted development rightsMole Valley District Council (MVDC) refused to grant a lawful development certificate (LDC) for a single storey rear extension on a dwelling house situated in an exposed location within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The date for determination of lawfulness of the LDC application was 26 November 2018. The matter to be decided upon was whether the development, if carried out at the determination date, would have been lawful. Therefore, the determination was to be made against the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (GPDO 2015) which subsisted at the time of the application, specifically the extension needed to be assessed against Class A, Part 1, Schedule 2 of GPDO 2015.

There was no dispute between the appellant and MVDC as to the class that the proposed single storey extension would fall under, Class A. The issue was whether the site’s planning history disqualified the dwelling from the benefit of these permitted development rights.

In 1983, planning permission was granted for a replacement dwelling. Three pre-commencement conditions were attached to the permission which required;
• a landscaping scheme (condition 4),
• a planting scheme (condition 9); and
• details and/or samples of the external materials to be used (condition 5), had to be submitted to MVDC for approval.

There was no evidence that any of the pre-commencement conditions were discharged; even though the dwelling was built.

As the dwelling was in an AONB the inspector considered that the condition 9 “penetrated the heart of the 1983 permission” and therefore was a condition precedent (R (Hart Aggregates Ltd) v Hartlepool BC [2005] EWHC 840 (Admin)), the dwelling was therefore unauthorised. MVDC had not taken enforcement action against the owners and therefore the building had acquired immunity against prosecution.

Although the building had acquired immunity from enforcement action, permitted development rights could not be claimed because under article 3(5) of the GPDO 2015 planning permissions, which were granted by Schedule 2 of the GPDO 2015, do not apply if the building operation or use is unlawful.

The Court of Appeal found that on the evidence available, the Council’s refusal to grant an LDC was justifiable, and as such the appeal was dismissed.

To read the decision notice please click here.
PINS: Appeal decision: APP/D0840/L/20/1200392 – a reminder to check that the Collecting Authority (CA) has received the Commencement Notice (CN)In this case, the commencement of development was scheduled to take place on 22 December 2019. On 20 December 2019 the appellant sent the CN by standard First Class post to the CA, and a copy of the notice was sent to the inspector.

Under Regulation 67(1) of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 sets out that a CN must be submitted to the CA no later than the day before the day on which the chargeable development is to be started.

Unfortunately, the CA did not receive the CN, as the inspector noted, there is a risk with this method of postage as there is no proof that the recipient was in receipt, as it does when using a registered postal method.

The inspector stated that as the liability notice has a warning regarding the consequences of failure to submit a CN, it is reasonable to expect that the appellant would check with the CA that they were in safe receipt of the CN before commencing with the development.

The appeal was dismissed and the surcharges upheld.

If you would like to read the decision notice click here.
PINS: Appeal decision: APP/C3620/L/20/1200391 – personal circumstances will not be taken into account regarding CIL surchargesAn appeal against surcharges imposed by Mole Valley District Council. The appellant failed to assume liability and did not submit a Commencement Notice as is required by Regulation 65 Community Infrastructure Levy 2010.

The appellant offered in mitigation that she was going through a stressful period. Sympathy was expressed by the inspector, however the inspector can only determine an appeal strictly on the facts and does not have the power to consider personal circumstances. As the necessary forms were not submitted, the inspector had no option but to determine on the facts.

The appeal was dismissed and the surcharges were upheld.

To read the appeal decision click here.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (“MHCLG”) publishes Notes on Neighbourhood Planning: Edition 24On 9 June 2020, the MHCLG published: Notes on Neighbourhood Planning: Edition 24.

This bulletin contains information on:

• Neighbourhood planning through COVID-19 – no neighbourhood planning referendums can take place until 6 May 2021, although provisions will be kept under review. The basic grant allowance for all groups has been increased by £1000 (from £9k to £10k).
• The Affordable Housing for Sale programme pilot – this will continue up to April 2021. Funding packages has supported neighbourhood planning groups in identifying suitable sites for affordable housing for sale. Groups are encouraged to apply if they are seeking to allocate sites for affordable housing for sale.
• First Homes Consultation on the design of the First Homes scheme – First Homes are a new housing product that will be sold at a discount of at least 30%, targeting first-time buyers, prioritised for local first-time buyers, key workers, serving members of the Armed Forces or recent veterans.
• Neighbourhood planning news and statistics – over 1000 successful neighbourhood planning referendums
• Neighbourhood plan reviews - over 1000 neighbourhood plans approved, which represents just over a 19% increase since July 2019
• Neighbourhood planning resources – the library of online resources continues to grow

To read the publication please click here.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) issues Benyon Report which recommends the creation of Highly Protected Marine AreasOn 8 June 2020, DEFRA issued the Benyon Review Into Highly Protected Marine Areas: Final Report. Richard Benyon, who led the review, is a former Environment and Fisheries Minister.

DEFRA published its terms of reference for the Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) review in June 2019 and called for evidence in October 2019

The Report’s conclusions were that HPMAs are an essential component of the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) network (the Blue Belt), and that the government should introduce them in English inshore and offshore waters and Northern Irish offshore waters.

The Report covers what HPMAs are and how the government should introduce them. The social and economic opportunities and challenges around introducing HPMAs. The path to successful HPMA identification. How the government should identify and manage HPMAs. The report recommends that the government should identify a minimum of five pilot HPMA sites to cover different environments and activities, these five pilot sites should have sufficient geographic spread to cover nearshore, inshore and offshore areas and different regional seas. Annex 5 includes a list of sites recommended from respondents to the Benyon Panel for further investigation as candidate HPMAs.

Marine habitats and species will receive the strongest form of protection in the form HPMAs; this will complement the existing network of marine conservation zones (MCZs). Providing vulnerable marine wildlife with the opportunity to recover from all damaging human activities with the aim of restoring areas to a pristine state.

Executive competence for marine conservation is devolved in Scotland and Wales, and in Northern Ireland in relation to the inshore zone.

To read the Benyon Report click here.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has updated its list of decisions made on called-in planning applications and recovered appealsThe MHCLG has updated its list of decisions made on called-in planning applications and recovered appeals.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has the power to take over, also known as call in, planning applications instead of the local planning authority making the decision. The Secretary of State will take this course of action only if the development is nationally significant or if the application conflicts with national policy in important ways.

Planning appeals can also be recovered for decision by ministers; a recovered appeal is one where an inspector will write a recommendation report to the Secretary of State on how the appeal should be determined. The Secretary of State will make the decision, taking the inspector’s recommendation into consideration.

MHCLG provided information on the following decisions:

• Recovered appeal: land at Love Lane, Woolwich (ref: 3233519 - 3 June 2020).
• Recovered appeal: land at VIP trading estate and industrial estate, Anchor and Hope Lane, London SE7 7TE (ref: 3233585 - 3 June 2020).
• Recovered appeal: land at Wolborough Barton, Coach Road, Newton Abbot (ref: 3205558 - 3 June 2020).
• Recovered appeal: land at Levitt’s Field Waterbeach Waste Management Park, Ely Road, Cambridgeshire (ref: 3225123 - 15 June 2020)
• Recovered appeal: land to the east of Newport Road and to the east and west of Cranfield Road, Woburn Sands (ref: 3169314 - 25 June 2020).

To read more please click here.
Welsh Government updates guidance on permitted development rights for householdersOn 29 May 2020, the Welsh Government issued updated guidance on “Planning permission: permitted development rights for householders”

The guidance consists of three documents:

• Planning: a guide for householders.
• Permitted development for householders: technical guidance.
• Householder permitted development rights: frequently asked questions

To read the three documents click here.
Welsh Government has published guidance on the implications of Parts 2 and 3 of the Legislation (Wales) Act 2019The Welsh Government has published guidance that will assist with drafting Welsh legislation understand the implications of Parts 2 and 3 of the Legislation (Wales) Act 2019.

The guidance in Part 2 (which replaces the Interpretation Act 1975 for Welsh legislation) is mainly relevant to:
• Lawyers and officials within the Welsh Government who draft Bills and statutory instruments for the Welsh Ministers
• Lawyers and other officials who draft subordinate legislation for devolved Welsh authorities (such as byelaws and schemes made by county and county borough councils)

The provisions of Part 2 came into force on 1 January 2020 and apply to Welsh legislation enacted on or after that date.

Part 3 is mainly relevant to lawyers and officials in the Welsh Government who draft statutory instruments for the Welsh Ministers. It will also be relevant to those who are involved in the scrutiny of statutory instruments by Senedd Cymru and to other readers of Welsh statutory instruments.

To read the guidance click here.
The Welsh Government publishes the list of planning decisions which have been called-inThe Welsh Government has published an updated list of cases which are currently before the Welsh Government for consideration.

To read the called-in decisions click here.
Policy Exchange publishes a series of essays - Rethinking the planning system for the 21st centuryOn 9 June 2020, Policy Exchange, a think tank which often informs government policy, published a series of essys on reforming the planning system for the 21st century.

The authors, Airey and Doughty, provide a coherent road map to reform that must start with a recognition that the current system is not working. The UK planning system has little relevance in the 21st Century, and although it has been tinkered with; it is fundamentally the same as when it was established in 1947.

The essays were provided by economists, architects, urban designers, campaigners, developers, lawyers and researchers contemplate ways in which the planning system can be reformed which addresses those issues which face modern society and economy. Each essay author brings their own perspective into the matter.

To read the Policy Exchanges publication click here.
Welsh Government publishes Building safety: position statementThe Welsh Government (WG) has published Building safety: position statement. This paper outlines proposals on which it intends to consult formally in a White Paper before the end of the WG’s Assembly Term in 2021, and this will set out the full scope of the reform programme across all aspects of the building lifecycle.

The White Paper position statement indicates that the WG intends to proceed jointly with the UK government “where appropriate” and that the White Paper will state where it intends to depart from the UK government’s proposed reforms.

The WG’s plans are separated into a “fire safety regime” and a “building safety regime”. The reform changes that will apply to all buildings whilst works are being carried out will be through the Building Act 1984 and Building Regulations. The proposed reforms to the building safety regime will be consistent with England. A new fire safety regime focused solely on dwellings will be introduced.

WG intends to consult on:

• Whether the building safety regime should only apply to residential buildings taller than 18 metres or to a wider range of buildings
• Whether the building safety regime is regulated by a single body
• In order to avoid any conflict of interest removing the choice of using the local authority or an approved inspector in relation to the Building Regulations on works to a high-rise residential building. Instead there will be a requirement to use a different building control body to avoid any conflict of interest.
• Imposing new responsibilities on residents, which may include duties to maintain compartmentalisation and replace damaged fire safety features.

There will also be a consultation this summer regarding making fire and rescue authorities a statutory consultee on some planning applications.

To read the Position Statement click here.
Welsh Government publishes implementation guidance for Welsh National Marine PlanImplementation guidance (IG) was published by the Welsh Government (WG) on 14 June 2020 relating to the Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP). The IG supports the WNMP, and it is useful to read it alongside the WNMP. Since November 2019, local authorities and other relevant bodies with the potential to affect the WNMP area must take account of the WNMP, and especially when making relevant decisions. The IG:

• Provides further detail on WNMP policies
• Supports marine planning in Wales.
The WNMP is a 20-year plan that includes sector policies for the following areas of fishing, tourism and recreation, ports and shipping, undersea electronic cables and the collection of sand for use in construction, to ensure that the coastline and ecosystems exist alongside developments, instead of competing for marine space. A target date of 2021 has been set by the government to complete the series of marine plans for the rest of the UK.

To read the Implementation Guidance click here.
Natural England publishes model byelaws for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and the consultation responseNatural England (NE) published the outcome of its June 2018 consultation on 9 June 2020the purpose of which was a consultation in respect of Natural England using its byelaw-making powers to protect Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in England from damage or deterioration.

A site which is of special interest due to the flora and fauna or the geological make-up or physiography of the area can be designated as an SSSI under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981). NE is the regulator for SSSIs for England, and has the powers to make byelaws which will protect SSSIs (section 28R, WCA 1981).

NE published the following:

• Defra-approved set of Model byelaws for SSSIs, which include provisions on restricting access, damaging site features, bringing animals onto the site, use of vehicles and other equipment, water activities and permitting. Exemptions in emergencies and existing written consents from NE for operations were also included.
• The operational principles for Natural England to follow in making byelaws for SSSIs.
• NE’s response to its June 2018 consultation.
The model byelaws and operational principles will be used as a base for any future proposals for byelaws for specific SSSIs. Proposals for specific SSSI byelaws will be subject to public consultation and approval from the Secretary of State.

To read the publication from Natural England click here.
Welsh Government (WG) published the outcome to its consultation on changes to planning feesOn 18 June 2020, the WG published its summary of the outcome of its consultation regarding planning and related application fees, which ended on 13 March 2020.

The WG is proposing to:
• Increase planning fees across the board by approximately 20%.
• Charge a fee of £230 for an application for a Certificate of Appropriate Alternative Development.

To read the changes click here. a two-month delay because of COVID-19, on 27 May 2020, an application was finally submitted by EDF Energy to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) for development consent of the Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk.

The introduction of extra measures, including extending the pre-examination period, provides the local community with extra time to examine the application and for the consultation stage.

Sizewell C will be the second nuclear power station built in the UK using EPR technology. It will be a near identical copy of Hinckley Point C in Somerset and will therefore be cheaper to build and finance. Existing grid infrastructure provides very low grid connection costs, this cost saving will be passed on to consumers. Enhanced safety systems will provide protection from hazards, including earthquakes and flooding, an improvement in efficiency will mean that less uranium is used.

For more information on this project please click on the following link.
Development Consent has been granted to A63 Castle Street improvement in HullOn 28 May 2020, the Secretary of State for Transport gave development consent for the highway improvement works to the A63 in Hull

The consent order came into force on the 18 June 2020.

The examining authority recommendation was that the unacceptable scheme should be refused due to substantial harm to a listed building, the Earl de Grey pub (further details were subsequently provided regarding re-siting the pub), the loss of a substantial part of a burial ground and the loss of grade crossings for pedestrians and cyclists. However, in making the decision, the Secretary of State for Transport rejected this recommendation, and although he acknowledged that the harm was still substantial the Minister considered that development consent should be granted.

To read the development consent order click here.

Or contact another member of our Planning & Environment Group: Planning Team or Environment Team.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

Author: Robert Bruce


Author: Louise Burnett

Managing Associate

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