On appeal from: [2016] EWCA CIV 936

This appeal considered what the correct legal test to be applied is in assessing the adequacy of reasons provided by local planning authorities when granting planning permission.

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal. The Court considered that special duties arise under the EIA Regulations where an application (as in this case) involves a development which is “likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location”. Under reg 3(4), decision-makers shall not grant planning permission, where the application involves an EIA development, without first taking the environmental information into consideration, and they must state in their decision that they have done so. The Supreme Court held that, where there is a legal requirement to give reasons, what is needed is an adequate explanation of the ultimate decision, leaving no room for genuine doubt as to what it has decided and why. The Court rejected Dover District Council’s argument that a breach of the EIA duty alone should be remedied by a mere declaration of the breach due to the specific duty to give reasons under the EIA regulations.

For judgment, please download: [2017] UKSC 79
For Court’s Press Summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website (16 Oct 2017 morning session) (16 Oct 2017 afternoon session)