PPC permit application: R (on the application of Edwards) v Environment Agency and others

Judgement was given in the case of R (on the application of Edwards) v The Environment Agency on 19 April 2005. The case concerned an application made to the Environment Agency (EA) for a Pollution Prevention Control (PPC) permit on 21 August 2001 for a cement-making works in Rugby, England, which planned to burn chipped waste tyres.

Following a request by the EA for more information, a couple of technical reports which included information on emissions to the air of small particulates, were not made available to those objecting to the grant of the permit. Subsequent to the granting of the permit by the EA, which included permission for the cement-making works to carry out trials into the use of chipped tyres as fuel, a challenge was therefore raised by one of the objectors, Mr Edwards.

He sought to appeal the grant of the permit on the basis that the EA had failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and that in failing to allow the public access to the technical report, a proper public consultation had not been carried out.

While all but one of the claimants arguments were dismissed by the court, the appeal was allowed on the basis of a procedural point.

Although the court refused to quash the PPC permit, it did find in favour of the claimant to the effect that the specialist reports obtained by the EA during the determination process “should have been disclosed to such consultees or objectors as required it unless, as there was not, there was an intention to disclose a final report”.

The reports raised issues which were integral to an adequate assessment of the application and no prejudice could have been suffered by the EA or the operator from disclosure of the reports. While the judgement in the case has been welcomed by the EA, many feel the conclusions reached by the Court regarding Environmental Impact Assessment are disappointing and the correct conclusion was not necessarily reached in respect of what constitutes an “intervention in the natural surroundings” or what is a relevant “project” under Annex II in respect of the incineration of waste.

The full judgement can be found at the following link:
PPC Permit case

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