Bodged case highlights lack of communication

A case which had to be dropped due to a technical error has nevertheless brought to the fore the problem of a lack of communciation between the UK's planners and environmental regulators.

Commission v UK

The Commission took the UK Government to the ECJ on the basis that it had failed in its obligations under the EIA Directive to ensure the complete and correct implementation of Articles 2 – 6 and 8 and 9 of the Directive.

It had been brought to the attention of the Commission, through complaints in relation to cement manufacturing plants in England, that the use of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 ‘material change in use’ test by national authorities meant that certain projects were not subject to the procedures set out in the EIA Directive.

It had also come to the Commission’s attention that the UK had failed to properly co-ordinate its planning and pollution control rules sufficiently to ensure compliance with the obligations and objectives of the EIA Directive.

Unfortunately, due to a technical error in the pleadings, the action was held inadmissible as it was founded on contradictory arguments.

The case does, however, provide a clear indication of the Commission’s view in relation to the lack of co-ordination between planners and the Environment Agency (or SEPA).

The case can be accessed at the following link.

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