New Judgment: The Health and Safety Executive v Wolverhampton City Council  UKSC 34
18 Wednesday Jul 2012
On appeal from  EWCA Civ 892
The case concerned the whether it is open to a local planning authority, in considering whether it is expedient to revoke or modify permission to develop land under s 97 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to have regard to compensation it might have to pay under s 107 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The court dismissed the appeal of the HSE. A public authority, when deciding whether to exercise a discretionary power to achieve a public objective, is entitled to take into account the cost to the public of doing so. As a custodian of public funds the authority generally must have regard to the cost to the public of its actions, at least to the extent of considering in any case whether the cost is proportionate to the aim achieved. S 97 required no different approach. Possible difficulty in assessing precisely the likely level of compensation is no reason for not conducting the exercise, still less for leaving costs considerations out of account altogether.