• 18 April 2018

Could the Latest High Court Ruling on Air Quality Restrict Planning Approval for New Developments?

A recent High Court ruling against Defra’s plan to improve nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in the UK means greater risk of planning refusal for new developments which increase NO2 concentrations in the air. This could be through changes in existing transport flows or emissions from heating plant which may diminish local authorities’ ability to meet the EU Directive Limit Value for NO2.

On 21st February 2018, ClientEarth won its 3rd legal challenge against Defra over the UK’s plan to improve NO2 concentrations in the UK. The judgement ruled that Defra’s July 2017 plan did not contain sufficient measures to ensure substantive compliance with statutory NO2 Limit Values in the shortest possible time. The UK Government must now produce a supplementary plan which sets requirements for feasibility studies in 33 Local Authority Areas which do not meet NO2 Limit Values. Greater London is considered separately and does not form part of Defra’s 2017 plan.

There is now the potential that air quality could be a sole reason for planning refusal if a new development increases NO2 air pollution, delays compliance against the NO2 Limit Values, and does not consider or promote the measures set out in the forthcoming studies. This includes other relevant guidance to improve local air quality.

It is critical that air quality mitigation is considered at the earliest opportunity in the design of a new development, including how a new development will be operated. Consideration should be given to local plans, to ensure that a new development complies with local guidance.

Waterman’s Air Quality Team

Our team of specialist air quality consultants are members of the Institute of Air Quality Management and are part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution. We are involved in supporting and contributing to emerging changes in Central Government Air Quality Legislation. Keeping up to date with the latest technical assessment guidance and mitigation measures in the air quality field is imperative, and our key objective is to continually advance both individual and collective knowledge.

Our air quality team works closely with clients, planners, architects, transport consultants, landscape designers and building services engineers to provide a comprehensive approach to projects. We specialise in assisting developers to obtain consent for a variety of development types and our technical strength allows us to provide effective solutions to planning problems, whilst safeguarding the interests of our clients.

For a downloadable PDF which includes a list of the 33 Local Authorities, please click here.

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