Environmental Impact Assessment and reasoning in screening opinions: Jedwell v Denbighshire County Council & Others

The case of Jedwell v Denbighshire County Council and others explores some of the legal and procedural requirements relating to Environmental Impact Assessment screening opinions.

A screening opinion will set out the Local Planning Authority’s view as to whether a proposed development should be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). EIA will be required either because the proposal is of a type that will always require such assessment or because the proposal is likely to have significant environmental effects due to, for example, its characteristics or location. The facts of the caseIn 2013, Denbighshire County Council granted conditional planning permission for the erection of two wind turbines within an area that had been evaluated as having a high visual and sensory aspect of regional importance. In 2012, the LPA had adopted a screening opinion stating that no EIA was required. A local resident, J, requested reasons for the negative screening opinion from the LPA. No (or inadequate) reasons were given to J and so he sought to challenge the LPA by way of judicial review arguing that the reasoning in the screening opinion was inadequate and therefore the subsequent grant of planning permission was invalid.

The High Court dismissed the claim for judicial review and J appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal upheld J’s complaint.

The difference in law between England and Wales

The extent and timing of reasons Content Timing Can a LPA cure the deficiency of reasons through a witness statement?

Conclusion By May 2017, EU Member States are required to implement a new (2014) Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. Implementation is expected to result in significant changes to the EIA process in both England and Wales, including requests for, and the delivery of, screening opinions.

We will address these changes in future bulletins but if you would like to discuss them in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact one of the 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.